Small Towns, Big Farms... California's Heartland
The hills are rolling and expansive… and in most cases, the cows (or horses, goats, alpacas, etc.) roam freely. On any given drive you will see rows and rows of almond trees and orchard after orchard of grapes, and one of the best parts of any drive is the plethora of roadside farm stands along the way. Freshly picked cherries or peaches, anyone?
And then there are the small towns that serve as hubs for commerce and gatherings. Backyard BBQs rule here… as do country music, hunting, fishing, church, and Friday night football. The pace is laid back and congenial. You are family here.
But don’t let the laid-back pace fool you. Due in large part to the entrepreneurial nature of the farm sector and its hard-working labor force, California is the largest food producer in the United States (and the fifth largest in the world). Along with its highest grossing commodities (milk and dairy products), California also provides over two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts and over one-third of the country’s vegetables.
There is always pressure to produce more with less water, so newer methods of farming are constantly being developed… dry farming, micro emitters instead of flood irrigation, municipally recycled water, etc. Of course, the use of technology on dairy farms isn’t new, but you might be surprised to find that some farms are fitting their cows with Fit Bits. By monitoring a cow’s activity, one can get a sense of its overall health. Any change in their behavior can send up a red flag. There are also devices that can alert a farmer to when a cow is about to give birth. And milking systems are becoming ever more robotic.
Silicon Valley may be known for its progressive technology, but California’s heartland isn’t far behind. And we are all the more satiated because of it.