Is that the name of yet another post-season college football bowl game? Not yet, but it could be a good one for the Yuma, Arizona area. The Yuma area is known as the country’s “winter salad bowl’'. From about November through March, 90% of America’s lettuce is grown here in the Yuma area. The rest of the year most of it is grown in the Salinas Valley of California up near Monterey but it is too cold there for lettuce at this time of year and it is grown in Yuma where it then becomes too hot for lettuce the rest of the year and they turn to other crops.
So how can Yuma, just another dusty part of the Sonoran Desert grow so much lettuce? Well, in a word, the answer is irrigation. It is that same Colorado River that provides much of the water to big cites like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix that also provides water to farmlands including those in Yuma that would otherwise just be more dust and scrub. There are irrigation canals all over this area and there are lettuce fields everywhere you turn, including right next to our campground and in the city of Yuma as well.
There is head lettuce, romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce, and who knows what all other kinds of lettuce. It is picked, packed and shipped right from the fields. There are fields of broccoli (being grown for seed) and and celery too.
And we also saw that there is some citrus being grown in the region as well so we sought out a u-pick farm for tangelos. We picked 40 pounds that we are juicing – ah, fresh squeezed orange juice again. We also picked a few lemons as well and the cost was the same – 25 cents a pound. How can you beat fruit and greens this fresh?