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September 18, 2020

Worthy to Print Column: Is Everything All Right?

By George Worthy, Gonzales Columnist

Is everything OK? I mean no one has gone bonkers about having to stay inside? Of course there are a lot of things not getting done since we can’t do a lot of the things we took for granted getting done. My youngest said that the fields are being harvested and the quality of the product is looking good. We, on the West Coast, are quite spoiled when it comes to produce. 

I can remember when I used to travel a lot on business trying to get grocery chains on the East Coast to let me do their buying for them since I was here where it all happens. I would go into the stores and examine the produce section to see who they were buying from. I was pretty shocked the first time I visited a grocery produce section. You wouldn’t believe it! I knew the truck that hauled the product had to have a fifth morning delivery and I knew that the product had to be cut, wrapped and palletized before it was taken to the cooler. The cooler is just like a gigantic refrigerator. The produce would be pulled off the truck and placed inside a vacuum tube that did just what it is named. It would vacuum all the hot air out of the product and as it was vacuumed the temperature would drop, getting cold enough to make it to almost any destination in the United States. Shoot, they even ship it all over the world.

Back when I first started, they used cold water to bring the temperature down on leafy vegetables like green leaf or romaine. If it was broccoli, they injected ice slurry through a couple holes in the box that could deal with denseness of the vegetable. If you were driving and got behind one of the trucks carrying broccoli, you could always tell because the ice would melt as it hardened and the water came flying out from underneath the trailer. It would really mess up a clean car and if you were on a motorcycle, you either pulled ahead or dropped back to keep from getting muddy water all over you and your bike. 

The companies that made ice were doing pretty well, as they had been in the business for a long time here in the valley. Almost everything had to be washed or cooled before being put on the truck. As I drive down the highway and look over the top of my mask, I see that there aren’t any, or rather not very many trucks spewing out ice water any more. The scientists that work with the growers and seed companies have probably developed a seed that is a little more resistant to the heat. At least that’s what it appears to me. 

Strange as it might be I don’t follow the prices or availability anymore. For the past 30 years I had been connected with the produce business every single day, weekends included. Even when I told all my customers I was going to take my sons down to Cabo San Lucas, I had to take a phone. The buyers were not laying by the pool or racing with their sons on a go-kart track. They just wanted to make sure their order was shipped to them and when it would arrive. I don’t want you to think I didn’t like it. The produce business in this valley has been good to me and my family. I never met a farmer I didn’t like and they always paid their bills. 

Since we are speaking of paying bills; when I moved to Gonzales, the house I live in was brand new. It didn’t take long for the shine to fade. All the electrical plugs had to be replaced. The doors were hollow and made a pretty good racket when they closed. I loved the house and the town and still do, I have just been taught how to inspect a new house. Another real bother was the fence between houses. I don’t know where they bought the boards, but they were pretty sorry. 

I finally called our town builder Matt Gourley and asked if he knew anyone that would replace my fence. He knows everybody. He recommended a fellow by the name of Josh Gates. He owns and operates Josh Gates Construction. He is a terrific guy. (I don’t get paid to mention his name or business, but I think there are probably some folks that thought as I did: that my fence needed to be replaced and I didn’t know a reputable fence builder.)

Josh did a great job. My neighbor decided to have his fence replaced also, that way we only had to each pay half. We were both very happy. So give him a call if you need to. He observes all the recommendations the government recommends we follow, and I wasn’t concerned about him spreading the coronavirus. These days that’s pretty important too. Staying home has a few benefits. Making money is not one of them, but then you aren’t going out so you can save a little. 

I am more concerned about the children and school than anything else. For their sake, I sure hope they figure out a way to get them back in school. I didn’t do well in school even with two teachers; if they are going to learn to do their lessons on the computer, someone has to fix them so they don’t just play video games. It doesn’t sound like a good plan, but we have to do something.

God Bless.

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