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Santa Cruz County Agriculture & Gardening Digest

Berry Farmers Fear Massive Losses From Flood


Food safety rules require that soil and irrigation systems be inspected and tested for pathogens after the floodwaters recede.

Santa Cruz Farmers Market to Stay Put at Least Until Spring 2024


With the library/affordable housing project set to displace the market from its longtime home on Lot 4, director Nesh Dhillon aims to choose an interim spot during construction by this summer.

Furor Continues Over County Fair CEO Dave Kegebein’s Firing


"It’s deeply offensive to have this happen to somebody who has been such a contributor to the fair and, essentially, to our lives," said former Watsonville mayor Dennis Osmer.

UCSC Botanist Names Two Rare Succulent Species


Stephen McCabe, emeritus director of research at the Arboretum & Botanic Garden, has recently named two species from the Dudleya genus.

Eco Group Urges Limits to Almonds, Alfalfa Crops


As drought and climate change continue to wreak havoc on California's water supply, an environmental advocacy group is calling on the state to limit the cultivation of thirsty crops like almonds and alfalfa.

California Offers Proposal on Colorado River Crisis


California has given the federal government its own counterproposal for apportioning reductions of Colorado River water, saying a plan offered by six other states would disproportionately burden farms and cities in Southern California.

Lawmakers Want Investigation into ‘Wild West’ of California Cannabis


State lawmakers are calling for investigation into corruption in the state's cannabis industry and the exploitation of farmworkers.

Feds Say Railroad Must Deliver Grain to California Chickens


Federal regulators have ordered Union Pacific railroad to make sure a livestock producer gets the grain it needs in California to prevent millions of chickens and hundreds of thousands of cattle from starving.

Groundwater Depletion Accelerating in California’s Central Valley


Scientists have discovered that heavy agricultural pumping has drawn down aquifer levels to new lows and now threatens to devastate the underground water reserves.

Can We Hack DNA to Grow Food in a Hotter Planet?


Stanford scientists have genetically re-programmed plants to grow roots that change how they gather nutrients or water.

Drought Dramatically Shrinking California Farmland


In the fall, rice fields in the Sacramento Valley usually shine golden brown as they await harvesting. This year, however, many fields were left covered with bare dirt.

Ecosystems and Rural Communities Will Bear the Brunt of Intensifying Drought


Drought, human-caused climate change, invasive species and a “legacy” of environmental issues are permanently altering California’s landscape and placing some communities and ecosystems at increasing risk.

The Race to Save Precious Wild Seeds and Sprouts


A modern-day Noah’s ark, California Plant Rescue collects seeds from rare plants and fights the permanent loss of irreplaceable species.

Public Weighs in on Watsonville Pesticide Notification Pilot Program


In 2021, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation announced pesticide notification programs to increase transparency around pesticide application. After a public comment period, the department selected four sites to pilot the program, including Watsonville.

Controversial Fiji Water, Nut Tycoons Donate $50 Million to UC Davis


Linda and Stewart Resnick have donated $50 million to UC Davis for an agricultural research center—the largest donation in the campus’s history—but the couple’s Wonderful Company is the state’s single biggest water user.

Citizens Challenge Pesticide Use Near North Monterey County Schools


In a 50-page legal request, Central Coast activists are asking the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner to review all permits for pesticide applications issued this year within a mile of Ohlone Elementary, Pajaro Middle School and Hall District Elementary School in North Monterey County.

Inversion Wines Opens In Scotts Valley


There’s a new wine tasting room in Scotts Valley called Inversion Wines, featuring wares from very small vineyards in the far reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Could School-Zone Pesticide Switch Lead to Changes in South County Ag?


As the first organic farming specialist hired by the University of California system, Dr. Joji Muramoto is uniquely positioned to help growers expand their organic capabilities. But he also understands the practical challenges facing growers.

Downtown Farmers Market Move Could Affect Measure O Campaign


The Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Market board will vote soon on whether to move forward on an agreement with the city to relocate the downtown market. The timing—just a month before Santa Cruz voters decide on Measure O—is raising concerns.

‘Los Braceros’ Exhibit to Find Permanent Home in Monterey County


Photos from Stanford University’s Ernesto Galarza collection documenting the bracero program were on view at the Salinas Sports Complex. Now county leaders hope to find a permanent place for the display, but until then the photos can be seen at the Monterey County Historical Society.

Farm Bureau Conference to Host First-Ever ‘California Marketplace’


For the first time, members at the California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting will be able to sell goods from their farms and ranches. Called the California Marketplace, this interactive event will be held Dec. 4—one of several new features of the meeting, taking place Dec. 2-7 in Monterey.

How to Be an Eco-Conscious Wine Lover


It’s not always easy to know which wineries are practicing eco-conscious farming and operations. Edible Silicon Valley gathered various tips and things to look for when deciding which corks to pop.

Nesh Dhillon Talks About the Future of Santa Cruz Farmers Markets


Nesh Dhillon has managed Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets for more than 20 years. During that time there has been an expansion of markets from Felton to Live Oak and the inclusion of ready-to-eat food.

Here’s What You Need to Know About ‘Clean Weed’


First, there were clean beauty products, then clean cleaning products—and now clean weed. It’s about to be everywhere in the Golden State. So what, exactly, is clean weed?

Pesticide Notification Pilot Program Launches in Watsonville


Santa Cruz County has announced the launch of a pesticide notification program in South County. Created by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, it is one of four pilot collaborations aimed at residents close to land where agricultural pesticides are used.

Saison Winery Opens Tasting Room in Los Gatos


Winemaker/restaurateur Mark Bright and his partners at Saison in San Francisco decided to create Saison Winery to showcase Santa Cruz Mountains wines. Now, the wines can be purchased at the new Saison Cellar tasting room in Los Gatos, located in the former home of Left Bend Cellars.

State Lawmakers Weigh Buying Out Farmers to Save Water


A proposal in the state Senate would spend up to $1.5 billion to buy “senior water rights” that allow farmers to take as much water as needed from the state’s rivers and streams.

You Dress for Our Weather—Buy Plants for Our Climate


Too many coastal Californians are buying plants wrong for our climate and installing gardens more suitable for conditions east of the Mississippi, says Martin Quigley, director of UC Santa Cruz’s Arboretum & Botanic Gardens.

Tera Farm: Helping Women-Owned Small Farms Survive


Maria Ana Reyes began working in the fields when she was eight years old. Now, at 49, she cultivates 11 acres of her own in San Juan Bautista and Watsonville. She is a core contributor to Tera Farm—a produce box program with distribution points from Carmel to Menlo Park.

Watsonville Ranch Owner Gauges Interest in Proposed Development


While Watsonville voters decide whether to extend Measure U, which would limit development of farmland, Watsonville native Stephen Rocha is working with DeBernardo Realty to convert his family’s 150 acres into a multi-use compound.

Santa Cruz Researchers Study Wildfire Effects on Wine


Winery owner and UC Santa Cruz chemistry professor Phil Crews teamed up with a group of researchers to conduct a study on how the taste of wine was affected by wildfire smoke.

E-Commerce Startup FarmX Empowers Farmers


With her ag tech startup, FarmX, Maria Fernanda Reyes wants to empower growers. FarmX is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that lets farmers to sell their products directly to grocery chains, restaurants and other buyers.