by Laura Lewis
Fruit thievery is not new to Old Mountain View (OMV) nor this newsletter but seems to be on the rise these days with numerous reports of trees stripped bare surfacing on OMVNAtalk. The MV Police continue to encourage people to contact them if you see someone is in the act. Another tip given to me by an apple farmer in the central valley is to buy netting fabric to cover your tree and secure it well to the trunk and branches with wire. You will have to cut holes in the netting to pick the fruit. This method (designed to stop squirrels) might make it too much of a hassle and too time consuming for thieves to strip your tree. I found nylon netting for $16/40 yards at www.deltanetandtwine.com. Other ideas I found online include planting thorny plants around the base (Berberis and Orange Blossom), motion lights, fencing around the tree, putting up a sign that says “danger, do not eat fruit, tree is diseased” (or “treated with pesticides”).
It was a pest of a different kind that changed the face of fruit farming in Mountain View almost exactly a century ago. Around the turn of the century Mountain View actually was one of the region’s largest grape producer until a phylloxera plague hit and literally wiped out the City’s grape crops just a few years before the great earthquake of 1906 (phylloxera are aphid-like bugs). These two disastrous events helped spark a transition towards “modernization” which included the construction of the first City Hall in 1909 and the opening of Minton’s Lumber in 1911 which provided materials for the rash of new development occurring at that time. Strangely the destruction of Minton’s in a few months will pave the way for the first ultra-dense housing project to be built in OMV.
Both the topics of development and fruit thievery are great topics for our upcoming City Council Candidates Forum, which will be held in September. We have some interesting candidates running this year for three contested seats. With our neighborhood in transition, it’s more important than ever to support candidates who will work for OMV and its goals—including the right to eat your own fruit.