The United States Is Full, Chapter MCXVII


The war on cucumbers continues:  

Summer vegetables are ripening in fields across North Carolina, but farmers fear the bounty could go unharvested if a growing labor shortage continues.

The farms that supply Nash Produce were among many across the state that couldn't find enough workers last fall, and farmers say the problem could escalate this year. Enforcement raids have increased the cost to immigrants of sneaking over the border and discouraged many illegal immigrants from coming.

Some worry that North Carolina will end up like California, where portions of last fall's crops rotted in the fields and ripe fruit fell from the trees because workers didn't come to pick them.

This year, contractors are predicting that labor will be tight again, said Joyner, president of a cooperative of about a dozen growers, which includes Leggett. He said his farmers are so worried that they refused to plant all the cucumbers he could have sold this year.

"They asked me, `Well, if I plant them, can you promise me I'm going to get them picked?' " Joyner said. "And I can't." 

"Americans today don't want to sweat and get their hands dirty," said Doug Torn, who owns a wholesale nursery in Guilford County. "We have a choice. Do we want to import our food or do we want to import our labor?"

To recap: Government criminalizes mutually beneficial exchange through protectionist labor policies; innocent cucumbers rot. (Some will never even have the chance to be born.) Tobacco, sweet potatos, and Christmas trees are also in jeopardy.

Read reason on criminal Christmas trees here.