Opinions Page

The best place to start is by saying we would have liked it a whole lot more if  could have just sold our macadamia nuts; originally our main crop, to the locals around town and been done with it. A couple things got in the way of pulling off that too good to be true, simple marketing plan.

We tried selling our nuts, avocados, and subtropical fruit to local wholesalers and grocery stores. There IS a growing demand for local macadamias that are raw and organic. And there certainly is a market for avocados and other subtropical fruit.  However, that market is challenged by constant wholesale price pressures from produce coming in from third world countries, in particular post-NAFTA. I can't speak for commodities other than macadamias,  avocados and citrus, but I can say that the end consumer often pays the same rate whether an organic macadamia nut is grown in Kenya or San Diego. Or whether your guacamole started out in Chili or Chula Vista.  The international, wholesale produce buyer doesn't necessarily have an incentive to pass third-world savings onto the consumer. We are so surprised... There are hidden costs, however when you buy the Kenya nut, the Chilian avocado, and the Mexican lime. Shipping your produce from half way across the world is not an earth-friendly, sustainable concept. What's more, every time you vote with your wallet for the third world farmer, you take a vote away from the local farmer in your own backyard. In a very real way, lost votes for the local farmer translate to more bulldozed farms in your own backyard. More asphalt and more million dollar track house developments. And all that results in more runoff. More bumper to bumper traffic. Longer, energy-consuming commutes from farm to table. Southern California offers this nation some of the finest frost-free, 365 day, agricultural growing lands to be found anywhere in the world. It’s your’s and this generation’s food buying choices that will determine whether and how many acres of these precious growing parcels will survive.