Destroying a Way of Life in the Central Valley

If you drive out of Sacramento, California, into the Central Valley, you will see farmers hard at work in their irrigated fields. Near the city, you will see row crops like beans and corn being grown. You will also see beautiful grape vineyards, fragrant fruit orchards and cattle grazing in pastures. As you pass into the San Joaquin Valley, you will see rows of cotton with their little white buds, orchards of peaches and nectarines, nut trees and fields of berries being carefully tended by farmers. While farming techniques have drastically improved, it is the way it has been for decades.

Many believe that it is a way of life worth preserving. Recently, the State Water Resources Board recommended that 40 percent of the water will have to be allowed to flow into the ocean. There reasoning is that it will help protect species of fish that may die off if the river levels are allowed to get to low, according to BuzzFeed. This doubles the amount of water that has to be left unused to flow into the ocean. One has to wonder if the fish have not died off at the 20 percent level, why does it need changing?

The decision is not final. Many in the area believe that if the situation was in a more populous area, the Resources Board would have arrived at a different decision. If their decision is allowed to stand, irrigation pipes throughout the valley will run dry. The water within the underground water system cannot build up. A way of life may be destroyed. The area may never recover from what it has taken faithful stewards of the land decades to build.

There are those who think the proposal does not go far enough including spokesmen with the Golden Gate Salmon Association and with the Natural Resources Council. The plan as it stands now could eliminate thousands of jobs as farmer’s will be forced to leave up to 200,000 acres unplanted. People may have to move away and will never have the resources needed to return to their homes. When you drive through the Central Valley a decade from now, you may see miles of barren land.

Peaches: From Orchard to Table

If you love to eat peaches brought at local farmer’s markets, then you already know that they often have more fuzz than those brought at major retailers. The reason is that before peaches are shipped to major retailers, a wet knife is used to remove most of the fuzz. The equipment needed to do this is very expensive so it is normally not done to peaches sold at farmer’s markets, according to a Huffington Post.

If you are repulsed by the fuzz on peaches, then you might consider eating a nectarine instead. The difference between a nectarine and a peach is just one gene. That gene is the one that produces the fuzz. It is a recessive gene.

While no one knows for sure rather the nectarine or the peach came first, prominent pomologists suggests that it was the nectarine. They believe that peaches were created by crossing almonds and nectarines.

Growing peaches is big business in some areas of the United States. Over 60 percent of the commercially available peaches are grown by farmers in California. About 15 percent comes from South Carolina with the remaining peaches coming from Georgia.

A variety of commercial peaches are grown by California farmers. Consumers who want to buy the best ones will buy the ones that have just ripened before being shipped to your local grocer. The earliest of these is the July Flame which growers try to start picking in the San Joaquin Valley by the end of June. This peach has a red skin and deep orange flesh. The next peach to ripen is the white fleshed Nectar peach which starts to be available in mid-July. The last commercially available peach to ripen is the Elegant Lady.

In order to give shoppers peaches throughout the year, many peaches are commercially processed. About 85 percent of them are canned with another 15 percent being frozen.

Peaches brought in the grocery store are usually grown in the United States. It is cost prohibitive to ship them in from other locations. Many people, however, believe that the very best peaches are found in a valley in China.