dan weisman

Where have you gone, Pete Verboom Dairy?

Wind kicks across the site of the old, abandoned Pete Verboom Dairy just off Highway 76, west of Pala. Once an iconic and important dairy farm among hundreds of San Diego County dairy operations, Pete Verboom Dairy No. 1 and No. 2 are no more, and left blowing in the Pala Valley wind. Verboom was president of the San Diego County Milk Producers Council. He…


Drought-tolerant plants bloom at Waterwise Botanicals mega-nursery

There’s a drought on don’t you know, and Tom Jesch, founder and general manager of Waterwise Botanicals on Old Highway 395 knows it all too well. Waterwise, as the name implies, specializes in drought-tolerant plants and succulents. And when you say specialize, it means one of the most amazing displays of such landscaping materials here, there or anywhere. “Being water wise doesn’t mean it has…


A good egg is a little harder to find due to new state chicken cage law

Egg-laying chickens at Armstrong Egg Farms off N. Lake Wohlford Road “have less friends in their cage,” said a wry Ryan Armstrong this week, and egg prices have doubled since California’s Proposition 2 went into effect on January 1. That proposition approved by state voters in 2008 calls for 25 percent more room in chicken cages, effectively cutting the number of hens per cage in…


Valley Center Symphony performs for fun and cultural profit

Somewhere between surprising and unique, the small-town, all-volunteer Valley Center symphony orchestra seems to strike the right note. A culturally uplifting — shhh… — community secret, the local concoction of musicians ranging from first-time practitioners to seasoned professionals seems as dedicated as it is diverse. “Few communities can say that they have their own orchestra,” said Ed Labrado, a master of understatement as well as…


Ag Day brings students to the land of spuds, nuts and bees

They came. They saw. They trekked like soldiers going off to war, according to recently retired San Diego County entomologist David Kellum. And they learned. Welcome to Ag Day 2015 hosted at the Martin Gang Agricultural Learning Center on Cole Grade Road. Some 1,700 local kids from the entire Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District elementary school community, and fellow travelers, swarmed like bees across the…


Ray’s breakfast club percolates with the rising sun before landscaping local estates

On the surface, (the morning meeting) is about communication, but embedded within it are norms and values that are critical for organizations that must deal with difficult issues and adapt nimbly to new situations.” — Marty Linsky, professor, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government With the sun a mere memory from yesterday’s news, Ray Casarrubias, and his crew, meet at 6 a.m. sharp…


Taking agricultural education to a whole ‘nother level

  SAN PASQUAL VALLEY — Organic farming pioneer and consultant, resource conservation leader, and now agricultural educator, Scott Murray hoped his back-to-the-future efforts will keep farming viable in California and the nation.  Murray was doing it, in part, at a groundbreaking venue, the San Pasqual Academy. Located in the San Diego Agricultural Preserve about 35 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, it’s a first-in-the-nation residential education…


VCHS Class of 2015 says goodbye to all that

“It’s a Beautiful Day,” the song and the event, rang out across Jaguar Stadium Thursday, June 11 as the Valley Center High School Class of 2015 commenced its Commencement Exercises. Some 2,500 to 3,000 friends, families and supporters overflowed the stadium’s bleachers, lined the newly installed field turf in white chairs and otherwise took in the 15th Valley Center High School Commencement ceremonies. They would…


Doves of Love soar above San Diego

Larry Zetterquist and Kathy Duffany are Doves of Love San Diego. So are their white racing and homing pigeons. The Valley Center couple were prominently featured during Western Days events along with their progeny, in this case a flock of white racing pigeons that pass for doves. They transport the birds in small, airy cages draped with red-white-and-blue bunting suitable for release and return to…


People behaving badly

I covered the Delta. That’s the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for our purposes although I occasionally covered the Mississippi Delta for newspapers in Louisiana and Arkansas, which is a whole ‘nother story. This was the California Delta where I covered Elk Grove south and west through Hood, Locke, Walnut Grove, Isleton along with places like Lodi, Galt and heaven’s know where for the Sacramento Bee. They…