From fresh to frozen, chances are you’ve consumed a bell pepper grown right here in the Valley.
It’s harvest season across the Valley. The smell of fresh produce and the sounds of picking in the fields are a constant hum at Terranova Ranch.
“The San Joaquin Valley is such a unique place, we can grow almost any crop that we want. It’s really the most fertile ground and the best climate in the world. It just can’t be beat,” said Don Cameron, Terranova Ranch General Manager.
“It goes through here it takes all the peppers off the plant,” said Cameron as he explains how the mechanical harvester works, “It… mechanically sort some of them, and we have a few people on their that do hand sorting. But go through and the plant’s destroyed, so it’s a one time harvest.”
The bell peppers are then sent to a processor in Manteca.
“From there to go to Stouffers and They’ll use them for the bell pepper cups for the stuffed bell peppers that you see in the grocery store.”
But getting to store shelves doesn’t happen overnight. Cameron says it all starts with the seed. The growing process starts in March when the plants are transplanted into the field.
“We use subsurface drip irrigation on almost every crop we grow here, so we’re very stingy with the water, we give it only what it needs.”
A combination of sun and soil help to grow a tasty bell pepper. Terranova employs about 125 people, who help bring produce from the field to your fork. The ranch grows a variety of other produce including tomatoes.
“The calories we grow will feed right around a 100,000 people for a year. So it makes you feel good to see the crops going into being harvested. I know that it’s healthy food for California families and for families throughout the U.S.”
Food for thought the next time you enjoy fresh produce.