Janet Balicki Weber, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Harvest season is underway in Sonoma County and for those living in Wine Country that means grapes.
But let’s not forget the multitude of other crops that have jockeyed for the title of top crop through the years. Hops, apples and prunes have all taken turns dominating the economy at one time.
And there were other crops, too: walnuts, cherries and berries were once part of a diverse agricultural landscape that in recent years has become more grape-centric.
Agriculture has always been important to Sonoma County. In the 1920s, Sonoma County was ranked eighth in the country in agricultural production. In 1931, it was 10th, with all this coming from around 7,000 farms, 5,100 of which were 50 acres or smaller.
The small family farm usually grew multiple crops; producers often grew three or four to back up their primary yield. When prices dipped for one, they were prepared.
Of course, there also are animal products. Although crops like hops have nearly disappeared from the county, poultry and dairy continue to be big producers from Cloverdale to Petaluma.
View photos at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8756663-181/historic-photos-of-harvest-in?sba=AAS
David Karp, THE NEW YORK TIMES
It’s obvious to anyone who visits an American supermarket in winter — past displays brimming with Chilean grapes, Mexican berries and Vietnamese dragon fruit — that foreign farms supply much of our produce.
Imports have increased steadily for decades, but the extent of the change may be surprising: More than half of the fresh fruit and almost a third of the fresh vegetables Americans buy now come from other countries.
Although local, seasonal and farm-to-table are watchwords for many consumers, globalization has triumphed in the produce aisle. And despite the protectionist “America First” message coming from the Trump administration, the growth in imports appears likely to continue.
So this is an apt moment to examine how the shift happened, and what it portends — good or ill — for American consumers and farmers.
“I had no idea that more than half our fruit is imported, and it shocks me that this has happened so quickly,” said Michael Pollan, a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, whose best-selling books have analyzed the tensions between local and global food systems.
Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/dining/fruit-vegetables-imports.html