view current print edition




Uesugi Farms produces in the desert while leafy greens move to Central California

Uesugi Farms, a leading year-round producer of peppers, green beans and sweet corn, is preparing to harvest in the Coachella Valley in Southern California.Uesugi Pepper Field

In the spring, trucks hit the roads to transfer leafy green growing operations from the deserts in Yuma, AZ, and Imperial County and the Coachella Valley, CA, to the more temperate climate on the Central Coast of California. But for growers of warmer-weather crops, such as peppers and sweet corn, the desert is the perfect place to be at this time of year. Uesugi Farms is preparing to harvest Bell peppers, mini sweet peppers, green beans and sweet corn in the desert region of Coachella Valley in Southern California.

"The Coachella Valley provides the perfect climate for these crops during the spring as it's more forgiving and moderate than our growing locations in Mexico," Pete Aiello, general manager at Uesugi Farms, said in a press release. "It gives us a bridge between the growing seasons in Mexico and Northern California so we are able to continue providing these items throughout the year."

Peppers have a long growth cycle, and in order to get the best harvest in the Coachella Valley during the spring, Uesugi plants its seeds in a greenhouse, allowing the plants to grow to approximately six inches and establish roots before transplanting them into the ground. This way, they avoid planting outdoors in the harsher winter weather while still being able to harvest in the spring.

"Basically, we've got to try to be smarter than Mother Nature and beat her at her own game so we can make sure we always have a supply year-round," Aiello said in the release.

Uesugi began harvesting in early April and expects to continue in the Coachella Valley through June and possibly into July, overlapping its harvesting season in Northern California.