For those of you who cannot handle the excitement of seeing the moon move across the sky or the rise and fall of the tides, then watching Seagate’s tomatoes growing along hillsides in Baja California, might be too much for you. This article is important for those people interested in how we produce the tomato raw material for our Lycopene-15 product.
We are farming in an area of Baja California 50 miles east of Ensenada, basically in the middle of nowhere, just north of the green area on the map below. Recently there has been a surge of vineyards opening along this portion of the Guadalupe River Valley, as Ensenada attempts to draw tourists looking to taste local wines (basically to get drunk inexpensively) and sample the level of new fine dining. Until ~12 years ago, these foothills were a hotbed of meth labs and drug smuggling into the USA. However, times are changing. The meth labs have moved further inland.
We no longer have confrontations with the gangs and their automatic weapons. Instead, we are able to focus on growing our crops. This summer we planted tomatoes on some of the empty space around the farm. The photo below shows a hillside being prepared with furrows for planting the tomato seeds. Notice in the background the stark, dry vacant hills of the Baja.
As an experiment this year, we also planted tomatoes in between rows of grapevines, to protect the tomato plants from the hot Santa Ana winds that can come out of the eastern desert during the Fall.
During the early stages, we sometimes dig a trench alongside the rows of tomatoes and bury Fish Fertilizer, the only thing that we use to fertilize.
We also plant in between rows of olive trees for protection from the winds.
While this may seem like a lot of extra work, the potential for 80 mph Santa Ana winds is high and can wipe out these fragile tomatoes in a couple of hours. The tomato seeds planted on the hillside below slowly progress into becoming small plants.
You can see how much more vulnerable these hillside plants are, compared to the ones sheltered by the grapes and olive trees. However, this season we have been fortunate. There have not been any strong winds and the temperatures have been much more moderate than in recent years.
These tomato plants have gone to the next stage, producing small flowers in advance of the actual fruit in the photo below.
Finally, 2 weeks ago, we began to notice the growth of small tomatoes.
Okay, if this article has not caused you to reach your quota of excitement today, then you may understand why I occasionally need to take a break and go underwater to take pictures of fish. This photo of a very rare species (the author) was taken by my able though occasional dive buddy and long-term wife Michelle. It is rare that I am captured in a photo underwater, because I usually dive by myself. This actually violates the #1 safety rule of diving – to always go with a buddy. However after 45 years of diving, being on my own also means one less person for me to worry about. It also allows me to concentrate on the task of finding and photographing interesting animals and seascapes.