The Marchini’s have been farming here in Merced County since 1910. Nick and his family are the 4th generation and have been farming for 5 years. This particular fig orchard is about 30 years old and one of the few left in California. Figs are now a specialty crop. There used to be about 50,000 acres of figs in California. It is now down to about 5,000 acres. This orchard will be essentially gone because the high-speed rail will go right though the middle. Nick feels that the High Speed Rail Authority is being reckless in wanting to go though precious AG land. It makes no sense when there are already transportation corridors to follow.
Some of the other crops the Marchinis farm are radicchio and almonds. California produces about 95% of the fresh salad and about 60% of the other fresh fruits and vegetables for the nation. Radicchio, a leaf vegetable in the chicory family used in salads, is all California grown. California Almonds, Nick told me, provide about 80% of the world’s almond supply.
All of this to say, if we keep taking away our farm land, bit by bit, we lose not only production and efficiency but the national and world economies we participate in. Inch by inch……and pretty soon it will all be gone.