Although the Med Fly quarantine will be in effect until August of this year, we will still be able to grow and put summer fruit in your boxes. To do this we have to spray an organic pesticide on the plants that can be hosts to the fruit fly. The material we will use is spinosad, which is a micro-organism found in soil that kills the flies. There is a also sugary bait added, which attracts the flies. There is no need to spray the whole crop—just spot-sprays in a specified pattern. I do this with a backpack sprayer.
This all has to be done under the supervision of the USDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the same people running the Light Brown Apple Moth debacle. In our case the people involved are very professional, and I have confidence in them. The material we are required to use is being used “on-label,” which means this is a regular use for this pesticide. It is also used by both organic and conventional growers to control olive pests.
Someone from the USDA or CDFA will meet me on the farm to watch me fill the spray tank, adjust the pH of the water (as in the picture above), mix in the spinosad and spray the host plants. We will have do this every week until the quarantine is over. I have to pay the cost of the material, which will be $60 - $120 per week! On top of that, it will cost a couple of hours of time with all the paperwork involved. —Nigel