Fresh Facts Week 29: Your Farmer Commissions Your Garden

Uncle Vern’s Weekly Farm-Fueled Musings, March 9-15, 2014


Well, I had a pretty interesting week you might enjoy hearing about. The Organic audit was last Monday, which went swimmingly; faster and better than ever. Tuesday I rode with Juvinal on the Ventura truck route for a day. Your trucks typically leave the farm here in Kingsburg around 3 a.m. so we had a great time catching up between home and Valencia.

It’s worth noting that all of our drivers have come up through the ranks in the field and packing shed, so if you have a question about how to prune a tree, thin, harvest, or get fruit in a box and shipped, these guys have paid their dues and are a wealth of knowledge. It takes a motivated man about 3 years, as an example, to become a competent and efficient pruner; dealing with peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots, and all the nuances of the different varieties. Promoting from within has served us well. The work ethic you see from your delivery drivers came from the farm.

Anyway, it was great meeting the co-producers last Tuesday. I had a blast with the kids and visiting with the healthiest, most thoughtful people on the planet. My goal is to get around to every community this year, so if you see a guy who looks like the farmer on the mud flaps, be sure and say hey.

Carol drove down and picked me up at the end of the day. We went over to Anaheim for the CCOF annual meeting which was Wednesday morning. CCOF certifies and advocates for about 2,700 organic farms. I’m on their board and now their treasurer, so if you hear about ’em going broke in the next year, you’ll know they should have sought better talent.

At 10 we got on a bus and went over to what used to be El Torro Air Force Base; about 5,000 acres now decommissioned in Irvine that’s being turned into mostly homes, of course, but they’re leaving 700 acres for farming, and that much more as a community park.

It was beautiful to see organic strawberries being grown on what used to be the base polo grounds and it struck me that agriculture will thrive on any little corner it’s given a chance and some water. Los Angeles County was the biggest Ag county in the U.S. until the 50’s, Ventura County until the 60’s and here, Fresno County since.

Next we went over to some very inspiring gardens in a corner of “The Great Park.” If you’re anywhere near Irvine and have the slightest interest in gardening; if you’re a teacher and want to see how to create an educational garden on any tiny corner—paved or not—of your campus and see your students excited about learning, I would go check it out. They also had set up a farm for training disabled veterans to farm.

Parts of what I observed could be replicated for pennies on an apartment balcony or a vacant lot, or anything in between.

  • Gardening folks is the new golf; outside, nature, and satisfaction, not frustration.
  • Gardening is like printing money; a few pennies worth of seed and hundreds of dollars worth of food.
  • Gardening is art, only more beautiful, a workout with better results, serenity you can see, feel, hear, touch and taste.

If you’re unsure, talk to your neighbors, join a gardening club, look on our website, but get planting, you’ll dig it! Our whole goal is to help you be the healthiest you possible.


Author Amy Beth

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