Strawberry jaded

Strawberry fields forever, governor?

Strawberry fields forever, governor?

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

Whatever flavor of jaded you prefer—and there’s so many options—you’ve got to love Gov. Jerry Brown. He looks flinchlessly into the TV camera and gives the bad news du jour with an uncommon candor, never forgetting where he’s from (the land of the political careerist) and where he’s going (to the green fields of retirement, but hopefully not soon). Within the narrow confines of the newsbyte, he often finds a point of irony or humor that almost makes the state’s problems seem solvable.

From where Auntie Ruth sits—progressive eco-chick—the problems the governor faces are so enormous and the odds so great against him that she finds herself cutting him slack. Yards and yards of it. That can’t last forever: While she did the same with President Barack Obama this first term, that won’t extend past his re-election. It just can’t. Keystone XL Pipeline protests are just the beginning.

All of which brings us, tidily, to strawberries.

If you buy only one fruit that is cultivated organically, Auntie Ruth would encourage it be strawberries. You can buy them in season at the co-ops, or wander over to Yolo County’s Pacific Star Gardens and pick your own, from mid-April to late June.

The issue? The soil where strawberries are raised is often fumigated with methyl iodide, a known neurotoxin that disrupts thyroid function, damages developing fetuses and has caused lung tumors in lab animals.

Fifty scientists (including five Nobel laureates) wrote the Bush administration pleading it not be used agriculturally, to no avail. And Mary-Ann Warmerdam, the former head of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, oversaw a controversial approval of methyl iodide in late 2010. She’s since left to lobby on behalf of Clorox. (What flavor of jaded does she prefer?)

Gov. Brown said he would wait until her replacement was appointed to sort out the methyl iodide issue.

Which brings us to Brian Leahy. Formerly head of the California Certified Organic Farmers, he’s replaced Warmerdam at DPR. If anybody should be sensitive to the methyl iodide issue—from its impact on farm workers who work the fields, to those who live near the fields from where the pesticides drift, to consumers eating the fruit—it would be him.

So write our governor and ask him to move this issue forward. It’s a no-brainer. But ask him nicely, with a big smile. Auntie Ruth thinks Brown deserves nice-person lobbying. Strawberry fields forever, after all.