A Walk through the Santa Inez Valley
I've heard more than once, "most people outside California do not realize how extensive agriculture is in our state."
Getting to walk through the Santa Inez Valley allowed me to see fruit and vegetable production on a scale I had only seen in pictures and heard tails. It was a pleasure to see the acres of irrigated crops, shaded raspberries, and vineyards. There was even a vineyard in the middle of a racing track on one horse farm.
I knew before arriving for my first Cali walking adventure the state boasts over 200 different commodities. Knowing and seeing are quite different. My fellow walkers thought me crazy, I'm sure, when I said the soil was so beautiful and smelled so healthy I could "eat it." My ag pals get it, don't you?
Walking along the dirt tracks on the farms and observing the workers as they harvested, cleaned, packaged, and boxed cauliflower, broccoli, and kale was unique for this southern gal. I'm sure we have farms doing the same thing, just not near enough for me to take a stroll through the middle of them.
I loved listening as native Californians, with little or no ties to the agriculture industry, spoke proudly of their state and its contribution to feeding our nation and the world.
On the other hand, they were also keenly aware of state, national, and international economics, immigration policies, rising temperatures, and droughts. They worry for the land, the farmers, the workers, and the consumers.
I've said for many years, after realizing just how influential the west coast is in just about everything, "as California goes, so goes the rest of us". Walking through the heart of agriculture with my fellow Mission Walkers, I understood just how true my statement has been.
Back home now, I watch the news from the west with a deeper understanding and appreciation for how difficult their struggle is when trying to balance the needs of the agriculture industry, the consumer, and the spiderweb of political maneuvering that is all part of the s Golden state.
I hope they get it figured out soon before we lose more of the industry that helps sustain us all.
These are all pictures I took as we walked in the valley. I love the citrus farm named Rancho Guacamole!