I have always been partial to puns and random, unrelated bits of information. Sometimes, the useless bits of information make life so much more interesting. I hope you enjoy these factoids as much as I do! 

Factoids: Strawberries

Summary (Mostly from the California Strawberry Commission)

  • California grows about 88% of all the berries grown in the U.S. 
  • There are about 300 strawberry growers in California. 
  • There are about 34,000 acres of strawberries in California. 
  • Berries are grown in California’s unique coastal environment, which provides moderate temperatures with warm-sunny days, cool-foggy nights, and (typically) predictable rainfall.
  • Average yields are about 50,000 pounds per acre each season. 
  • In 2017, there were 206,040,481 trays (1.8 billion pounds) of fresh strawberries harvested in California. 
  • Average costs at final harvest are between $40,000 to $50,000
  • California Strawberries are grown in five distinct growing areas: Orange County/San Diego, Oxnard/Ventura, Santa Maria/Southern SLO County and Santa Maria. 
  • Production starts in the South in the winter and shifts northward as temperatures heat up during the spring. This ensures that California strawberries are available to consumers year-round
  • New berry varieties have lengthened the number of days in the growing season to even out year-round production, improved shipping quality, while increasing the flavor! 

Agri-Musings: Central Coast Boots

These Boots are Made for Farming!

I was standing in a barn yesterday. Listening to growers talk about how they farm in order to bring the highest quality salad veggies to your plate. I looked down and was moved by these boots. How do we estimate the value of these boots? By the millions of people who are fed nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables every day? Or by the incredible immigrant success stories here: second generation Okie and Portuguese, third generation Swiss Italian, Swede, and Japanese? Or by the growers’ refusal to give up in light of seemingly insurmountable challenges? These boots epitomize the American dream in so many (apolitical) ways.

June 28, 2018

Food: The Many Uses of Lettuce

Love potion? The Greeks thought that lettuce was an anaphrodisiac, (i.e. it suppressed the sex drive), while the Romans thought lettuce was an aphrodisiac (i.e. – well, never mind, we all know what aphrodisiac means!) Hmmm… 

Digestif or Appetite Suppresant?  For centuries, lettuce was eaten at the end of the meal and was seen as a “refreshing” food. Sort of a digestif. Then, someone decided that it should be eaten at the beginning of a meal because it stimulates the appetite (keep that in mind when as you try to lose weight). This debate rages on. The French still insist on refreshment, while the rest of the world focuses on gluttony.

Relaxant or stimulant? Through the centuries, there have been recommendations to eat a small bowl of lettuce prior to sleep and there have been recommendations to eat it when you want energy.

Confused? The best reason to eat lettuce is because, on some days, nothing tastes as good as a well made salad! 

Windshield Views: March 18, 2014

Today was THE DAY!

There was a major sign that spring has arrived. No, it was not the day I saw the first robin, or the first daffodil, or the last snowflake!

It WAS the first day that I saw the semi’s loaded with vegetable harvest equipment headed home to Salinas from the desert! There were convoys headed up Highway 101! The Salinas fields are ready to be cut with their first shamrock-green heads of iceberg lettuce and romaine sizing up nicely.

You will never know the difference, but very soon, your lettuce will be originating from a very different part of the world. Instead of the desert, it will be coming from The Salad Bowl of the World, The Salinas Valley.