It might seem counterintuitive, but a desert environ can be the perfect place to grow crops.
Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, San Diego, grows tomatoes and cucumbers in the Mexican desert of Baja California and Baja California Sur. It produces crops near Vizcaino, Baja California Sur, and near San Quintin, Baja California.
Mark Munger, vice president of marketing, said the company chose to grow there because the climate is similar to where cucumbers and tomatoes grow naturally. That allows the company to minimize inputs while maximizing yields.
“This is all part of our sustainability philosophy — to grow the right products in the right regions,” Munger said.
Andrew & Williamson grows in shadehouses to guard against pests and diseases. Munger said severe diseases can be transmitted by insects biting the plants. Some of its crops are grown hydroponically, which minimizes soil-borne disease problems.
The Coachella Valley of California provides good growing conditions for grapes, grower-shippers said. Winter temperatures were cold enough to provide a good period of dormancy. Spring daytime temperatures in the upper 80s were good for growing, while nighttime temperatures in the 50s and 60s helped protect against pests.
Desert growers in California also will harvest watermelon, eggplant, sweet corn, jalapeños and grapefruit this spring and summer.