One of the Farm Roosters had a lot to say today about the Med Flies...
I am trying to take stock of the full effects of this quarantine, it is a very difficult situation. I know we will come out of this and be a better farm for it. It helps us become very focused on our core job; producing great organic food.
Here's a time line of events over the last 5 days.
Solano County Agricultural Commissioners office left a message on my cell phone telling about the meeting on Saturday and that I was in the quarantine area.
Saturday 7 pm
Farmers meeting just west of Dixon where the Local, State and Federal officials explained the situation. There were about 40 farmers present, the mood was somber and quiet. There were more questions than answers, as you can imagine. We were also addressed by California Secretary of Agriculture and Food, A G Kawamura. After the meeting I spoke with him . He knew what a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was, which in itself is a great comfort. He was aware of our particular problems and he introduced me to the coordinator of the project.
Sunday 10.30 am
There are four large office trailers in the Dixon Fairground parking lot which the USDA has just brought in. They will be offices and a lab and will be in place until the end of the quarantine. I was there to sign 'compliance' papers. There are documents for grower, truckers, packers and processors. I am included in the first three of those. These papers outlined the basics of the quarantine.
Monday 9 am
I start work of the newsletter and Blog explaining the situation to our customers.
Monday 4 pm
Farm crew meeting at the farm. I updated the crew on what we could and could not pick and pack. The crew cannot even take the affected produce home to their families.
Tuesday 2 pm
Meeting at the USDA Offices in Dixon. I had three questions;
1. Can we dry tomatoes, peppers and fruit and then include them in or CSA boxes?
2. Can we have customers come to the farm and cook tomatoes to take home with them? We hope to have a party very soon.
3. To be able to bring fruit in from other farms to make our boxes whole again we need to make our pack house Med Fly proof. The instructions on the papers the USDA are vague and open to interpretation so I need someone to visit the farm and tell me exactly what to do.
USDA will visit the farm to examine the pack house and advise on Med Fly Upgrades.
Wednesday 7 pm
Farmers meeting in Dixon to give an update and more details of the Quarantine.
On a personal note...
I am overwhelmed by the support already offered by fellow farmers, friends and neighbors. I am exhausted and determined to comply with this quarantine so that the Med Flies are stopped in the City of Dixon. The message we all need to hear is that our food security is at stake here. Do not bring any food into California. Med fly is described by the USDA as 'one of the most destructive pests'. The rules at our borders are there for a very good reason. Please for the sake of your food supply, all our farms and livelihoods abide by these rules.
More updates will be posted as needed. Your understanding and support is appreciated more than you can imagine.
Thank you.. Nigel and the Eatwell Farm crew.