Grape Patrol

March 25, 2009
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“Hi I’m Commander Superior Seedless and this is my partner officer scarlet Royal and were the grape patrol. We are here to keep predators like the vine mealy bug away from our future grape crops in the Coachella Valley.”

“Yes, it’s a big job but there’s nothing a grape can’t handle.”

Today we will be watching over just a fraction of the 10,465 acres of grapes in the Coachella Valley and of 3,560,009 acres of grapes in the state of California. We will be inspecting each plant for any sign of presence of Vine Mealy Bugs such as partially eaten stems or leaves or any sticky honeydew. If the plants show any signs of this disease that part of the plant will be cut off as soon as possible. They do this very quickly so that the disease doesn't spread.

This disease that I’m talking about is mold. that’s right mold, How does the mold get there? Remember that honeydew I was talking about earlier. Well, that honeydew turns into mold. If this disease spreads throughout the vineyard it could eventually wipe out all of the vines. This kind of thing can’t happen because California produces about 97% of the nations commercially grown grapes. And about 100,000 people depend on California's grape production.

We will also be watching over the packing procedure and make sure everything is running smoothly. We will be doing so by making sure a stem full of grapes from each vine will be squeezed and then read with a hydrometer. Then, if the grape vine passes the inspection we will make sure all of the grape bushels are taken off that vine and the bad parts are trimmed off. Once the grapes are trimmed they will be put in crates very carefully and sent to one of the many packing stations. These grapes will be sent down their row to their rows packing stand. Sometimes however, the row of grapes will share a packing stand with about five other rows. Once they arrive at the packing station they will be packaged,weighed, and labeled. Once they are ready to go they are almost immediately sent out to grocery stores and other companies. This one unique thing about the Coachella Valleys Grape Industry because most grape producers don’t send their grapes off quickly after purchase and inject the containers that the grapes are in with chemicals to make the grapes last longer.

“Well, we’d better get to it, the day’s wasting away and we still have a lot of acres to cover. Officer Scarlet Royal you go that way and I’ll go this way.” Lets have a look. It looks like this vine is okay and that one and that one, but what do we have here looks like we got ourselves some honeydew, I’d better flag this area. Lets keep on looking every thing looks to be okay. Hey there’s one of our crop pickers let go make sure he is doing okay. Looks like he’s doing pretty good testing the vine, then taking the ripe bushels of grapes off and putting them into the crate ever so carefully. Why don’t we go check in with Officer Royal.

“Hey there Commander how was your area doing.”

“Not too bad we had some honeydew in a few places. How about you.”

“Pretty good, but we’ve got some mold in this particular section and it looks like its gone air born and has already started affecting some other plants.”

“We must tell the worker to remove these spots of mold immediately. It also looks like there were some of those vine mealy bugs here chewing on these plants. There’s one of them now lets book him.”

“Mr. Mealy Bug you are under arrest for first degree infection of these plants any thing you say can, be used against you on the leaf of law.”

“If you’ve learned anything from this it’s crime doesn't p





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