Most people don’t think of coastal California as a farming area. But that’s still the case, at least for those of us left in a few select pockets. This is a great farming area, in fact. We can grow just about anything here, and over the last 130 years my family has grown lima beans, apricots, walnuts, oranges, and currently lemons and avocados. Even a few “free-range turkeys.” (Back then they were just called “turkeys.”) Same piece of ground.
So what have I got to vent about? Well, like farmers everywhere we are feeling the pinch of higher input costs, soaring land values, urban encroachment, and conflict with neighbors who apparently failed to notice the nearby farms did more than provide viewshed. And here in California, we have great enthusiasm for regulation and litigation. We are fortunate to have some people representing labor and the environment with whom we can have useful conversations.
I’ll be writing about some of the issues that make Ventura County a wonderful, frustrating, rewarding and challenging place to live and farm.
For the record, I consider myself a sustainable conventional farmer. We use cover crops, mulch and careful irrigation practices to minimize runoff and water usage. We have been members of an Integrated Pest Management co-op that has been a world leader in beneficial insects for 80 years. We are experimenting with goats for weed control, and local distribution. But if there is an invasive weed, pest, or nutrient deficiency that absolutely must be addressed, we’ll do what we must.