Saturday, September 15, 2007

The land of fruits and nuts

If you’re going to teach people about history, it’s best to get your facts straight first. Case in point: Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) features an area called “Bountiful Valley Farm,” which Disney’s website bills as “edu-licious.” Various educational displays and farm equipment are scattered around the area, providing a look at California agriculture, past and present. It’s a nice idea, but some of the exhibits leave something to be desired. An especially bad example – in the form of the produce truck above – caught my attention last week. The bed of the truck is filled with various crates filled with California fruit and labeled with old-style (but recently designed) fake fruit labels. The more I looked, the more wincing I did. Let’s take a look, shall we?A cherry crate label from Orange County? Cherries were never grown or packed here commercially. There are also some “Orange County” blueberries in the display, which is hardly representative of local agriculture.

But wait, it get's better! "California" bananas! I hear there’s one small area of a costal valley near Ventura where the unique micro-climate allows bananas to grow. And I'm not sure that's even a commercial venture. Basically, bananas are NOT a California crop. Strike two!

Although boysenberries would have been a better match for Orange County, at least SOME forms of raspberries were grown here once. However, you certainly don’t pack them this way. If you do, the bottom half of the crate becomes mush. These are orange crates, not berry flats. (The strawberry boxes in this display have the same problem.) Actually, the fake berries in this box are closer to the color of boysenberries than of raspberries. I wonder if they did a last-minute label change after Disney suits said, “Ix-nay on the Otts-Knay.”

Here’s another example in a display near DCA’s “Farmer’s Market” dining area. Initially, I thought this was right. Certainly I remembered the name Rudolph Hass, and La Habra rang a bell. I wanted this to be my example of Disney doing this correctly. But it turns out Mr. Hass actually grew his "mother tree" in La Habra Heights, which is in Los Angeles County. And not to nitpick, but some accounts say it actually grew in his front yard. (Although I can't confirm the latter.)
Also on display near the "Farmer's Market", are a series of profiles of various successful modern farmers throughout California. Interestingly, one of the O.C. farm families profiled is the Fujishige family, on whose land Disney plans to build their next Anaheim theme park.


Davelandweb said...

Hopefully part of the $1.2 billion being pumped into DCA will rectify this area! Great post, as always Chris!

rubr.duky said...

Believe it or not. There is a banana tree growing (and producing fruit) outside of Buzz Blasters between the show building for Buzz Blasters and the Pixie Hollow area.