A number of you may have heard by now about the op ed by Jerry Seinfeld in the New York Times (the "newspaper of record" as it were) as a response to an article saying how NYC will never come back post Covid. He loves New York, and makes a serious case on how it will always rebound. It's a good read, and nestled within is an interesting point concerning the efficacy of Zoom and remote meetings - again this is from a really successful professional performer, so worth the moment to read and consider:
"There's some other stupid thing in the article about “bandwidth” and how New York is over because everybody will “remote everything.” Guess what: Everyone hates to do this. Everyone. Hates.
Energy, attitude and personality cannot be “remoted” through even the best fiber optic lines. That's the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.
You ever wonder why Silicon Valley even exists? I have always wondered, why do these people all live and work in that location? They have all this insane technology; why don't they all just spread out wherever they want to be and connect with their devices? Because it doesn't work, that's why.
Real, live, inspiring human energy exists when we coagulate together in crazy places like New York City. Feeling sorry for yourself because you can't go to the theater for a while is not the essential element of character that made New York the brilliant diamond of activity it will one day be again."
I'm with Jerry here. I've been a part of some very well run Zoom extension meetings, with plenty of participation, but it's not the same. Couldn't put my finger on it until just now - these meetings lack ENERGY. The energy of the crowd, the energy of all of us together, the energy of sharing some really exciting work to our avant garde berry industry, ever hungry for high quality science.
So you know where I am going, I am thinking through how I am going to handle the big berry meeting I run every year together with Joy Jacobs of the Strawberry Commission. At 300 + people in attendance, it is not going to be in person this year, vaccine or no vaccine, so I've got to figure something else out because man do we have a lot of data - in particular on Fusarium. A straight six hours of Zoom it will not be, it needs to have some pizzazz, some energy, something that is interesting and fun to be a part of.
In case any of you are wondering what the strawberries look like right now with the fires close by (about 30 miles away) burning, I took some pictures of one of the test plots I happened to be harvesting this afternoon.
Influence is negligible, a bit of the fruit that can be washed off. Not a problem, too the heavy ashes seemed to have declined. Maybe the fire fighters are getting a hold of this beast. All the best to them, and thinking of those affected by these blazes.
Take care everybody.
Hi folks, I've had some questions lately on how the summer heat has been affecting strawberries, so I thought I'd get some pictures together and accompany them with some comments and insight.
Bottom line is that the heat is really killing the berries.
When we talk of berry production in the Monterey Bay area, we also talk of using a lot of plastic - from the bed covers for strawberries, to the tunnels for caneberries to the weedmats in the anchor rows of those tunnels. Not to even mention the inputs for clamshells. It's all quite necessary as we all know, but it's a lot of plastic nonetheless.
Consider for example that according to a recent news release from Science Daily that the amount of plastic flowing into the ocean could triple in quantity from where it is more or less today to 2040. That's something to think about, article here.
It's a bit unnerving that we may be contributing to that colossal output of trash, but do not fear - your extensionists in berry culture on the West Coast are not standing by idly! In collaboration with Drs Lisa Devetter and Carol Miles from Washington State University Extension and local point person Pam Krone of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, I have been spooling up a program to address this, in particular, but not necessarily restricted to, the use of Biodegradable Plastic Mulches (BDM). These recent iterations are much beyond the "biodegradable plastics" of a few decades ago that were stuff that really didn't degrade too well, these definitely do.
The issue of course is getting BDM to work well in the current production practices in California - for example it won't serve much if they totally fall apart mid-season, rip when applied or reduce yield because they are the wrong color, too thick, too thin, you get the picture.
To that end, again with Dr Devetter and Dr Miles from WSU extension and Pam Krone, we've held a well attended meeting earlier this year at my office (pre-covid) and together with local research vendor Plant Sciences, Inc and its crackerjack field crew held an in field meet up (of very small size mind you with all masks and distancing observed) in June with several interested and committed growers and researchers to get the wrinkles out of the first critical step of field plastic use; the layout.
All went well, and we are now looking to lay the plastics out on several farms this fall for a full season look.
Stay tuned, this one will be getting bigger; there's some very competent and committed people involved here.
Colleague Surendra Dara has moved his massive extension event from outdoors in the field to online this year. Never fear, the event still promises to be a good one, with best of the best strawberry scientists and others presenting on topics such as climate change, fumigation alternatives, biological management of strawberry pests, new diseases and weed management. I'll be calling in from my art filled abode in Watsonville, avoiding all the hassle of trucking down to Santa Maria.
And you can too, just have to sign in using the link below:
See/hear you there!