Farmworkers at a supplier for Driscoll’s, the largest berry distributor in the world, won a raise earlier this month — as well as some Covid-19 safety measures — following a series of actions demanding better pay and working conditions.(No paywall)
In a rare organized action, more than 100 nonunion workers joined a work stoppage at Rancho Laguna Farms, a California grower that supplies Driscoll’s, the largest berry producer in the world. The workers were protesting a demand that they pick only the best fruit for the same pay, even though quality was spotty, making it hard to earn more than minimum wage at their piece-work rate of $1.90 a box.(No paywall)
A jury ruled that two former stars of the strawberry breeding program at UC-Davis violated an agreement with the university over control of the plants they developed while at the school.
Strawberry researcher Douglas Shaw "found himself in a legal jam," says The Associated Press in covering a dispute in which UC-Davis is suing Shaw and his research partner, "alleging they stole the school's intellectual property by taking some of the fruits of their research with them" when they left the school. The scientists have filed a $45-million countersuit that says UC-Davis is sitting on their advances.
If there’s one fruit to be wary of its conventional strawberries, says the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which put the fruit at the top of its annual "Dirty Dozen" ranking.
"On the agronomical trip to market, strawberries have lost some of their flavor," says Wired, noting the adjustments made over the decades to produce a bright-colored, slick-skinned, large-sized berry that is easy to pick and stays in condition.
Rudy Mussi, who farms in the Sacramento Delta, "is not the California farmer you've been hearing about," says the NPR blog The Salt. "He is not fallowing all his fields or ripping up his orchards due to a lack of irrigation water."
Drought in California could idle 78 percent of the state's farm land yet, "A booming population and a sharp increase in lucrative crops like berries and nuts that require more water strain the system" says the New York Times.