Lemon Socialism - California style

What would happen if the Communists occupied the Sahara?
Answer: Nothing—for 50 years. Then there would be a shortage of sand
There's a significant squeeze (pun totally intended) on California citrus fruits recently. Per the Produce Blue Book:
Throughout the analyzed period, lemon prices for product coming from South & Central California, have been increasing which is in contrast with to stable pricing of the 2019 season, said Miguel Montero, executive vice president of strategy and revenue with Agtools Inc.
Anecdotally, I can confirm. Supermarket lemon and lime prices in particular are significantly up compared to last year.

OK, so what? Pandemic drives increased demand, there's inelastic supply, prices rise.

Problem is, supply is very elastic. In California, fruits are weeds. When you move to California from Wisconsin, Maine or wherever, if you have a garden of any size then you'll have citrus trees: orange, lemon, grapefruit; also non-citrus pomegranate, apricot, asian pear, Japanese plum, persimmons. Even bitter orange, if you like a mouth-wrenching sour taste and vicious thorns.

It's not like this has been a citrus-hostile recent climate. The neighbourhood orange and lemon trees are very fruitful this year. They grow everywhere, and without any particular gardening care other than a bit of water now and again.

You'd expect that anyone with a reasonable-sized garden would be able to sell their lemons and oranges into the local market to take advantage of rising prices. You'd be wrong. Doing this is limited to road-side stalls outside the main Bay Area, where local law enforcement knows not to ask too many questions. Try this in San Jose and you'll be hit with citations for missing permits, causing a nuisance, and various public health violations.

Law enforcement carries out public policy. Public policy is to keep prices high for local major farmers, and allow indocumentados to earn a living without too many questions. Anyone else with citrus trees is shit-outta-luck.


  1. I live near Bournemouth in the UK and they have a small airport. It's basically owned and run the the local authority. Their car parking charges are **high**. An enterprising family set up an off airport parking business on their own land, secure, taxi to airport, valet service and about 50-75% of the cost of the on airport parking. It went really well for a couple of years...

    Then they were hit with legal measures because of 'change of use', inspections, all sorts, it became clear they weren't going to be allowed to rest. So they moved to a different site further from the airport. There were similar issues and the business finally folder a year later.

  2. Steve - are you implying that the local authority would take such arbitrary action as to reduce their revenue competition? I'm shocked. Shocked!

    I'll note that a lot of lamp posts don't seem to be used any more, and nylon rope is very cheap.


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