Windshield Views: July 14, 2016

As I drive through the Salinas Valley, I consider the precise rows of cool season vegetables and ponder emerging attitudes. Some regulators believe that growers need to find alternative crops to cool season vegetables and this will protect and conserve water.

Hmmm…What alternative crops could be grown?

  • We know it is too cold for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, and most c-4 plants, such as corn and sorghum.
  • Alfalfa uses too much water.
  • The sugar beet market has been destroyed by fructose corn syrup, trade and labor issues.
  • It is too windy for tree crops.
  • Canola? Would it grow? But, it can grow on marginal land, why would we put it on high-rent, highly productive land? 
  • Soybeans don’t like California. 
  • Beans and peas will grow, but the markets are limited.
  • We could grow potatoes, but potatoes, apples, and garlic are mostly grown in China, these days. But, maybe, Ag would produce more vodka?
  • Grapes? Yes! We could grow MORE wine grapes!
  • Hops? Maybe…
  • Pot! We can transition from emerald, healthy salad greens to medicinal greens.

Bottom line? The Salinas Valley would be perfect to produce alternative crops that will either get you drunk or high. Who needs to eat?