Yesterday, in Santa Maria, there was frenetic activity in the strawberry fields.
Because of labor shortages this season, the farmers had to stagger their ground prep; and therefore, fields were at different stages of development.
In some areas, workers were frantically pulling up drip tape from last year’s crop. Other fields, were just being fumigated*. Then, again, some fumigation was complete and white plastic barriers were whipping in the ocean breezes like battle pennants as they were being removed. Precision bedding was being etched into heavy alluvium. And finally, some daughter plants were being transplanted into their special holes in plastic mulch.**
The seasonal cycle is an extremely intricate ballet of man, machines, weather, and plants. And why go to all of that effort? So you will have something to dress up those cheerios in the morning! (And for those strawberry margaritas, too!)
* Yes, I know fumigation is a less than desirable pest management tool – but it is a current reality – and yes, the industry is working on more environmentally friendly replacements – there just aren’t any great alternatives available – YET!
** Note: Ag Plastic and drip tape were being recycled; however, as of 2018, trade wars with China have slowed and/or halted recycling opportunities, as China is the largest importer of junk for recycling. Chinese tariffs are making it prohibitive to export Ag Waste.