An Open Letter to Mr. Bill Nash

I was alarmed to see that the Star would print such a blatantly inflammatory piece as Bill Nash’s call for an anti-cilantro jihad(“Request to chefs: Hold the cilantro – far from his plate” Ventura County Star 5/20/09). As he notes in his article, cilantro is a significant cash crop in Ventura County. The farmers who grow this tasty herb are, for the most part, perfectly responsible American citizens, just like you and me. To blame a whole industry for the culinary excesses of a few bad actors (chefs are notoriously provocative and irresponsible), seems like the kind of polarization that could truly tear this community apart. Please, let us not give into Mr. Nash’s name-calling and innuendo… surely this is the path to civil war.
To lay my cards on the table, I am a farmer. But lest I be accused of being in the pocket of “Big Cilantro”, I should note that my primary crop is the very fruit that Mr. Nash claims to prize above all: the noble avocado. I guess this is why this issue hurts my soul so badly. Surely, he must realize that it has been the same fusion cuisine movement that made cilantro omnipresent that has made avocados a household staple. So while I am not a cilantro partisan (although I do partake in moderation), I can’t allow him to denigrate the responsible use of this perfectly legal herb in particular and California cuisine in general. Indeed, doesn’t his dangerously extreme position threaten not just the Avocado, but our entire American way of life?
To avert catastrophe, I am electing to be the larger person, and reach out to Mr. Nash. Sir, you may consider this letter a coupon redeemable for 5 pounds of avocado from my ranch, provided they are in season. Enjoy them in good health. All I will ask is that we hear no more of this divisive talk of conflict between our fine American fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Chris Sayer

Avocado Farmer and Recreational Cilantro User

3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Mr. Bill Nash

  1. Bill Nash is my dad and I am writing this to you in defense of him, but not for him. I think you took the wording and therefore the message of his column much too seriously. I think everyone, obviously with the exception of you, took his words to heart and did not get the lighter side of his message. He is very familiar with the agriculture field, having worked in it before for many years, so I think he is well aware of the economic realities behind cilantro and its effects on those in the agricultural field. It would be one thing if his column was a news story, but it is just a column that he writes in deference to the lighter side of life. Let’s keep in mind, he was making fun of heartburn. Please take my words as my own, not his, I just can’t believe that someone would take this so seriously.

    – John

    • I think everyone, obviously with the exception of you, took his words to heart and did not get the lighter side of his message.

      Should read:

      I think everyone, obviously with the exception of you, did not take his words to heart and got the lighter side of his message.

      • Hi John. This was written with tongue firmly in cheek. Ironically, it seems that you missed the lighter side of my remarks. No offense was intended, and I would be saddened if it was taken. If that wasn’t clear, please know that it is a reflection on my writing skills, and not a critique of your Dad. I enjoyed the column. I sent my piece directly to him at the same time I published it, and we traded emails. I agreed to support the Willie Nelson benefit concert he has proposed to help out cilantro farmers harmed by his words. Hope to see you there!

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