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.
Avocado Farmer and Recreational Cilantro User