DIXON (CBS13) — A small bug is posing a big danger to fruits and vegetables and it could be devastating to California’s agricultural economy.
The oriental fruit fly has been found in Sacramento County and a quarantine is now in effect.
That prompted a lot of shopper confusion at a farmers market in Downtown Sacramento on Tuesday. Peggie McKwillen comes to buy stone fruit and melons every week.
“I almost kept walking,” she said.
She, like many shoppers, wasn’t sure why tarps were draping most tables at the market.
“The fruit’s never covered. I didn’t even know what was going on until I overheard the lady talking to him about fruit flies.
The fly has been found in Sacramento County and its potential spread has agriculture officials taking precautions.
“We export a lot of stuff from California,” said Dan Best with Certified Farmers Markets of Sacramento County. “We feed the world, so that would not only devastate our local farmers markets from our growers’ standpoint, but also the economy of California, so it’s a real serious matter for us.”
The state department of food and agriculture is requiring all nine farmers markets in the quarantine area to keep certain host fruits and vegetables protected. That includes peaches, citrus fruits, melons and squash.
Growers we spoke with say it’s a harder sell when their fresh produce is under wraps but they understand the precautions. They come from outside of the quarantine areas and don’t want to chance bringing the pest back home.
A grower for 40 years, Greg Beals says fewer customers were interested in his perfect pears today but he makes sure to tell his customers his special message.
“We’re trying to protect you guys from this pest, there’s nothing wrong with this fruit, this is why we’re doing it,” he said.
Some important information for people who live in the quarantine area and have homegrown fruit and vegetables—officials say don’t move those off your property. Also when you throw them away double bag them in plastic and place them in your household waste not your green waste as that could increase the chance of spreading.