Lettuce Fields In Alberta?

While traveling through southern California & Arizona over Christmas, I saw some super-sized gardens. Having grown up in central Alberta, I’m used to seeing large fields of hay or wavy seas of wheat. On occasion I’ve even seen some fields of corn, peas, and even strawberries. But never have I seen acres upon acres of lettuce, onions, and broccoli.

Lettuce Fields in Arizona

It was quite a sight to see – rows upon rows of lettuce. In Arizona, lettuce is a common winter crop. One local farmer I talked to said their family grew watermelons and corn in the warmer months and lettuce during the winter.

Lettuce Crop in Arizona

The winter climate of Arizona is not too far removed from Alberta’s summer climate. In fact, while I was there in December and early January, the average daytime high was about 18 degrees Celsius. So why don’t you ever see fields of lettuce in Alberta? It can’t be because of a lack of market – there are several greenhouses in Alberta that grow lettuce.

Lettuce Field in Arizona

I would guess the reason we don’t see fields of lettuce in Alberta is due to our frequent hail storms. Arizona very rarely gets rain in the winter and I doubt they ever get hail. In Alberta, though, I can’t think of a summer that I haven’t seen a hailstorm roll through. If hail didn’t destroy the crop, it would certainly damage it.

So until they invent hail-proof lettuce, I guess I’ll have to give up my big dreams of becoming a lettuce farmer and settle for growing a few heads in my greenhouse.

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3 Responses to Lettuce Fields In Alberta?

  1. Diane says:

    I think you must be correct about why we don’t have fields of lettuce in Alberta. It would sure be great to be able to purchase locally grown lettuce. I wonder how full of chemicals that stuff is that was grown in Arizona.

    Great blog you have here.

    Diane at Sand to Glass
    Diane’s Flickr photos

  2. Dave says:

    Thanks for the comment Diane. Yeah, I’m pretty sure Arizona lettuce is far from ‘organic’, but on one positive note, I did see weeding crews going through the fields – so at least they don’t use chemicals for everything!

  3. rockin rob says:

    hi fm rob in wisconsin…i had to comment on arizona/lettuce growing,my brother-in-law lives in surprise,az and i have been there,he said after they harwest onion crops,some onions are left in the fields and locals cane go pick the “remnant left overs” after the picking is over,he said he got 50 lbs. onions…they do this with other crops too,their irrigation methds sure are different too.but ur in a desert…great place to visit too…tks

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