I Now Understand Why Peaches Cost $2.99 a Pound
On the way to Clearlake and even before Arroya Seco (Greenfield, CA) we passed mile after mile after mile of orchards, vineyards, and farmland with a few cattle ranches thrown in. The contrast between lush growing fields on one side and dead brown grass on the other side which isn’t cultivated is dramatic.
Water is only part of the reason why produce is expensive. Manual labor is the other. Many of the crops are harvested by hand. We passed strawberries fields with probably 50 workers bent over picking the fruit. Back-breaking work to say the least.
It’s obvious kale is the cash crop based on the acres growing from tiny seedlings to harvested fields. I would guess 10 times as much kale is planted as lettuce.
Fruit such as cherries, apricots and apples are the trees that keep on giving. Once planted the trees produce for years. But the trees don’t start producing a reasonable crop until around five years old.
That fact was brought home to me in Clearlake by passing baby trees, almost ready to produce trees and full grown orchards. It takes time to establish an orchard and time is money.
Note To self: Peach cobbler, cherry rumble or strawberry shortcake? Decisions, decisions, decisions.