Big Win For Nativists! We didn’t like home grown tomatoes anyway.
This is an important article to read because it’s telling of things to come if the nativists get their way. It’s easy to say who should work where, but I don’t see the mass of Pennsylvania anti-migrants volunteering to pick tomatoes on the weekend.
I don’t have all the answers for those people out of work, but here was an opportunity for 175 people to make a living and provide food to their local community that has now come and gone. It’s gone for citizens and it’s gone for migrants who wanted to contribute and make a living. Just gone.
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
March 24, 2008
CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. (AP) — Saying the nation’s immigration system is broken, Pennsylvania’s largest grower of fresh-to-market tomatoes announced Monday he will no longer produce the crop because he can’t find enough workers to harvest it.
Keith Eckel, 61, a fourth-generation farmer and the owner of Fred W. Eckel Sons Farms Inc., said he saw a dramatic decline last summer in the number of migrant workers who showed up to pick tomatoes at his 2,000-acre farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.
“There are a number of workers hesitant to travel, legal or illegal, because of the scrutiny they are now under,” said Eckel, whose tomatoes have been shipped to supermarkets and restaurants throughout the eastern United States. “So there are less workers crossing state lines.”
Eckel, who planted 2.2 million tomato plants last year, said he also will stop growing pumpkins and will plant half as much sweet corn as usual, resulting in a loss of nearly 175 jobs.
Though Eckel’s tomato pickers made an average of $16.59 per hour last year, he said the relatively high wage is not enough to attract local labor to work the fields.