For the complete text [PDF] of Jack L. Debenedetti, Jr.: Brussels Sprouts and Artichoke Growing on the North Coast (E-Scholarship) Includes complete audio (streaming or download) for the oral history. Note: Due to editing by the narrator, there may be some differences between the audio recording and the transcript. Please quote from the transcript as the record. Audio will be found under "Supporting Material."
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This volume documents the history of these two specialty crops in Half Moon Bay, Pescadero, and Santa Cruz's north coast. The late Debenedetti's father, known as the "Artichoke King", developed the local artichoke industry and was the first to introduce this crop to the East Coast market. The Debenedettis, large shipper/growers, farmed a thousand coastal acres from the 1880s until the 1970s.
Debenedetti provides an overview of coastal agriculture during a half century, describing the varieties of crops grown, characteristics of coastal soils, pest control, capital costs, field labor, the Bracero Program, and the history of Brussels sprout and artichoke cultivation. His narration also includes chapters on the decline of family farming, the future of coastal agricultural land and the increasing pressure on farmers from land developers.