Monday, October 30, 2017
In a snapshot and a snapshot and another snapshot … Cotton Farm Tour Visitors Capture the Moment
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
While this idiom expressing a single photograph can explain a complex idea may be a cliché, the phrase is quite apt to the October 24 Cotton Tour in the northern San Joaquin Valley.
Let’s take it even further: If one photo is worth a thousand words, then thousands of photos are worth a small fortune.
Indeed, the 55 tour participants riding in a comfortable charter coach bus resembled a gathering of paparazzi instead of fashion industry representatives.
At every stop during the Sustainable Cotton Project’s annual event, men and women alike pulled out smart phones, digital cameras and video recorders to capture every moment during the day-long event that explored every aspect of California cotton production. In a snap, they probably shot thousands of photos of cotton, more cotton and even more cotton. Get the picture: Cotton was the paparazzi-like celebrity of the day.
A healthy, green rosemary plant growing in a newly planted perennial hedgerow: Snap, snap
Brown colored cotton bursting out of a boll: Snap, snap.
Windfall Farms co-owner Frank Williams standing among his colored cotton plants, explaining water issues, cotton production and anything farming: Snap, snap.
Dr. Pete Goodell, University of California Integrated Pest Management extension advisor emeritus, describing the qualities of cotton fiber: Snap, snap.
Tour participants getting a rare chance to walk among mature cotton plants, hand-pick the fluffy fiber and even feel the sticky honeydew residue on plant leaves – a condition created by whiteflies: Snap, snap.
Westside Farmers Co-op Gin manager Matt Toste describing how modules of freshly harvested cotton are transported from the field and processed inside the bustling, noisy gin, adding it takes just 45 seconds from start to finish for the seed and trash to be separated from the fiber and compressed into 500-pound bales that shrink-wrapped and loaded onto flat bed trailers: Snap, snap.
Visitors strolling through the gin, feeling a heated fiber, inspecting the machinery and control boards and watching bales being formed: Snap, snap.
Fashion industry representatives smiling and clutching an armload of just-picked cotton before the fiber heads into the gin for processing: Snap, snap.
Tour participants walking outside the gin, inspecting the pile of separated cotton seeds used for livestock feed.
Cleaner Cotton farmer Dan McCurdy talking about cotton production and the harvest, describing how his new harvester picks the fiber and creates the round modules stored alongside the fields for transport to the gin: Snap, snap.
“I’ve never seen a cotton farm. It was really interesting,” said Anna Rotty of Williams Sonoma in San Francisco. It was a first for most of the visitors, who closed out the tour with a few light-hearted Kodak moments: Snap, snap.
Closing out the day: “It was fascinating,” Merrilee Avila of Nike said before she and her colleagues headed back to Portland, Oregon. She then paused and added: “I learned my job depends on agriculture.”