Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yuma, AZ - Let Us do Lettuce Today

Did you know that Yuma:

Grows more than 90% of the nation’s leafy vegetables from November to March?

Is #1 in the state and number 3 in the state for vegetable production?

Is one of the world’s top producers of Medjool dates?

Is a major exporter of durum wheat to Italy, where it’s used for premium pasta?

Is Arizona’s top producer of lemons, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon and cantaloupe?

Grows more than 175 different crops and seeds?

Creates a $3.2 billion economic output, more than 1/3 of Arizona’s total agricultural production?

Well, why not? OK, I’ll have to admit that I didn’t know any of this either - until we began to wander around the area and saw nothing but fields and fields of lettuce. Bibb, iceberg, green, red, and things I didn’t even recognize. I didn’t see any ‘hearts of romaine’ however.

Yuma is definitely an agricultural area. We took a road trip through the area circling most of the area today. This is the primary sight:
Rows and rows of iceberg lettuce.
Check out these heads - you might see these in your grocery store tomorrow - they certainly look ready to pick.
And, the cauliflower:
Not all of the fields are green, and note that this one got watered recently. All of the rows here are built up so that water can be released from the irrigation ditches into the fields on schedule.
We have lots of fields in Iowa but none that are lined with palm trees.
For fields this big, the tractors are big too. Not your grandfather’s tractor.
It’s water from the Colorado that waters these fields, aided by lots of dams along it. Here’s how it is used - by state.
All of that water drained out of the Colorado sure has made a difference in Yuma. Here’s a picture of the Colorado River in 1916.
and here is a picture of the same site in 2013, nearly 100 years later. Not much left of the mighty Colorado.

But there’s more to the story of agriculture in Arizona and California also,  for that matter. We saw teams of pickers, all in hats with their skin covered. Don’t tell me that these people are taking anyone’s job. This is brutal work, stooped over all day, in the hot sun, hands worn raw with the work.You want salad and fresh vegetables tonight for dinner? Thank these people.

Brought to the fields in buses towing 2 biffies on a trailer in back. Quite an angle there. Wednesday, we passed one of these buses on our way through town late afternoon and I looked over to see a face of tired despair in the window. This guy looked beat.


  1. Amazing pictures and we always learn from your blog.
    When I told Danny about your stay in Yuma, he remembered we visited the old prison at the time.
    The picture of the pickers and bus transport is exactly what we also see in Spain in the water melon fields.
    P.S.: you will have to change the text at the beginning of your blog: "We bought an RV, we sold the house, BOUGHT ANOTHER ONE, ... :)".
    Kind regards,
    Marleen and Danny

  2. We visited the prison several years ago. Pretty dark.
    Now - about your comment about our RV - remember, no one likes a 'betweester.' Is that a good Flemish word?