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Garlic Supply Plentiful in Gilroy, But Not Farmers
San Jose Mercury News ^ | July 27, 2007 | By Saqib Rahim

Posted on 07/29/2007 12:48:40 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL

That savory, aromatic, delicious garlic that you lavish on your fries, steak and everything else? There's plenty of that.

But garlic farmers in the self-proclaimed Garlic Capital of the World? They're almost extinct.

As the Gilroy Garlic Festival kicks off today, only three growers in Santa Clara County have survived the disease, land-use pressure and brutal economics of the industry.

Louie Bonino is one of them. But Bonino, whose LJB Farms has grown garlic in San Martin for more than 30 years, isn't sure he can hold out much longer.

"It's not very profitable anymore in agriculture here in South County," he said. "We just barely make it. Just getting by."

Bonino's farm has mirrored the perils that small farmers in the county have faced in the last 20 years. Where he once grew nearly 40 acres of garlic, his acreage is now 10. Where he could once hire as many as 150 workers to help at harvest time, he now hires around 40.

Similarly, the county's overall garlic production has taken a nose dive, as economic pressures have squeezed production east, to the San Joaquin Valley, and west, to China.

The county flexed its garlic production muscle in the early 1990s, harvesting as much as 400 acres, but the flow has slowed to a trickle. Last year, the three local garlic farmers harvested only 67 acres.

The explanation, farmers said, comes down to one word: cost.

The exodus of garlic production to China surprises few these days: Most understand that Chinese producers pay workers less, can cultivate more land and face fewer governmental standards......

(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: agriculture; china; foodsupply; freetrade; garlic; gilroy; trade

1 posted on 07/29/2007 12:48:42 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL
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To: 2Fro; all_mighty_dollar; Arkat Kingtroll; Battle Hymn of the Republic; Betis70; billycat95130; ...

Click for San Jose, California Forecast
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The List of Ping Lists

Anyone make it to the GGF this year? We couldn't. < |:(~

2 posted on 07/29/2007 12:52:19 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

Never been, we get a whiff of them every year, this year not too bad.. some years, your eyes almost burn. :-) and we’re a good 20 miles away.


3 posted on 07/29/2007 12:56:51 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Welcome to FR. The Virtual Boot Camp for 'infidels' in waiting)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Those damn Chinese vampires!


4 posted on 07/29/2007 12:57:02 PM PDT by battlegearboat
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I love garlic and onions; but you really have to hold your nose at times going through Gilroy and never go around a tomato processing plant. Boy does that stink.


5 posted on 07/29/2007 12:58:15 PM PDT by freekitty
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To: JACKRUSSELL

“It’s not very profitable anymore in agriculture here in South County,” he said. “We just barely make it. Just getting by.”

That’s because the big corporations have come in and squeezed the little guys out or even the big independent guys.


6 posted on 07/29/2007 1:00:06 PM PDT by freekitty
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To: freekitty

You go through Fresno and see that it is dominated by big corporations now.


7 posted on 07/29/2007 1:00:51 PM PDT by freekitty
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To: JACKRUSSELL
“Chinese producers ........., can cultivate more land......”

What are the starving hordes of Chinese people eating if they are exporting all their garlic, apples, apple juice, wheat gluten, etc to us?

8 posted on 07/29/2007 1:01:30 PM PDT by Western Phil
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I had to give up garlic farming. For some reason I could never get a date.


9 posted on 07/29/2007 1:02:14 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: Larry Lucido
I could never get a date.----Try China Ranch.

When traveling through the Death Valley area consider visiting beautiful China Ranch, near Tecopa California. China Ranch is a family owned and operated small farm, a lush piece of greenery amidst the forbidding Mojave Desert near Southern Death Valley. Imagine towering cottonwoods and willows by a wandering stream, date palms and abundant wildlife, all hidden away in some of the most spectacular scenery the desert has to offer.

10 posted on 07/29/2007 1:14:46 PM PDT by Young Werther ( and Julius Caesar said, "quae cum ita sunt." (or since these things are so!))
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To: martin_fierro
I remember, in 1973, driving soouth to LA from Seattle. I crossed over from I-5 to 101 via Gilroy.

The aroma from spice processing plants was nearly overwhelming!

Neat place!!!

11 posted on 07/29/2007 1:18:04 PM PDT by llevrok (I voted for George Bush - not Jorge Arbusto.)
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To: NormsRevenge

It’s possible to navigate an airplane sometimes by odor. They don’t teach that in ground school. I bet there’s parts of NJ that could be navigated that way too.


12 posted on 07/29/2007 1:24:33 PM PDT by Reeses
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To: martin_fierro
GGF was really neat the first few years and enjoyed taking out-of-towners when we lived in San Jose.

Then - success: got too big, too crowded, too commercialized.

I always stop and pick up a bottle of Garlic Wine if I'm driving through the area. Served ultra-chilled, it's unbeatable with Pizza or Pasta.

Just make sure, in self-defense, EVERYBODY drinks some!!

13 posted on 07/29/2007 1:59:18 PM PDT by GoldCountryRedneck ("Flying is like Life: Know where you are, where you're going, and how to get there." - 'Ol Dad)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
"Chinese producers pay workers less, can cultivate more land and face fewer governmental standards."

Meanwhile "progressive" (I know; it's newspeak) California cannot fix the potholes in its roads.

14 posted on 07/29/2007 2:14:42 PM PDT by Savage Beast ("History is not just cruel. It is witty." ~Charles Krauthammer)
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To: freekitty
"That’s because the big corporations have come in and squeezed the little guys out or even the big independent guys."

There's that, but why don't we post some comments that don't channel DailyKos or DemocraticUnderground, hm?

Stratospheric taxation, union obstructionism, urbanization, obscene regulations, "wetlands protection", busybody environmentalists, governmental meddling... there are many contributors to the demise of the family farmer, especially in costly, government-intensive places like, well, anywhere in California.
15 posted on 07/29/2007 5:17:00 PM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast ([Thompson 2008!])
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To: martin_fierro

LJB farms is worth a visit. Lots of nice produce, good prices, it’s on my list of farm tour stops.

There’s a mushroom farm out in that neck of the woods. If you like button mushrooms fresh out of the cave, like I do, it’s definitely worth a stop.


16 posted on 07/29/2007 6:12:46 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer (I'm a billionaire! Thanks WTO and the "free trade" system!--Hu Jintao top 10 worst dictators)
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To: JACKRUSSELL; All

My ex-partner was one of the largest garlic farmers in the Gilroy/Hollister area 25 or 30 years ago. He and most of the others stopped raising garlic for one simple reason: disease. That’s the main reason production shifted over to the Central Valley.

Besides, as he told me many years ago, he was going to start farming houses.


17 posted on 07/29/2007 7:14:50 PM PDT by x1stcav (If you continually have to say you support the troops, you probably don't.)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast

Correct.


18 posted on 07/29/2007 9:18:33 PM PDT by freekitty
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To: NormsRevenge
Never been, we get a whiff of them every year, this year not too bad.. some years, your eyes almost burn. :-) and we’re a good 20 miles away.

That's funny that I just read this. I can smell it wafting through the windows in the morning breeze right now.

19 posted on 07/30/2007 4:57:35 AM PDT by CheneyChick
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To: JACKRUSSELL; All

I can smell the garlic this morning!!!


20 posted on 07/30/2007 7:12:21 AM PDT by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways Guero >>> with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona....)
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