I was surprised to learn that Surf City Growers, who I had written about earlier was closing. They had caught the eye of Sunset magazine as they we're an all organic nursery. According to their e-newsletter, â€œThe nursery has been set back on the growing side due to the invasion of the Light Brown Apple Moth in Santa Cruz County.â€ They have had to spray with Bt regularly. The letter continues, â€œAfter spraying, the crops have to be covered for a period of 10 days, after which they are re-inspected before they can be released for sale. In addition, none of the expenses are being subsidized.â€
This moth is a huge concern out here and the nursery business is taking the brunt of the costs. According to KPIX, â€œThe Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau estimates wholesale and retail nurseries lost about $2.8 million in forgone sales and investments toward fighting off the moth from April to December 2007.â€
These nurseries are required to do this spraying at their own expense. The article at KPIX talks of one nursery that sustained $50,000 in lost sales due to being shut down while the nursery was inspected.
So far here in El Dorado County we have been spared the trouble you see in Santa Cruz. Of course that could change with one discovery here. We are inspected regularly by the county agricultural department, and all new shipments from out of the area are inspected. Lets hope we don't have the problems Surf City had to deal with.