Baby Carrots In American Politics

Baby-carrots

From an article called Why Baby Carrots Are A Nutritious Lie, click for link.

The first time the reality of baby carrots really settled in on me was in the back of a cab in New York City.  The driver, a Romanian, was telling me that before New York he’d lived in Bakersfield.

“Bakersfield!” I said, because I’m pretty interested in Bakersfield.

Bakersfield has its own country music scene:

and it has Basque cuisine:

woolgrowers

Photo used without permission from Jordano’s Restaurant Supply, click for link.

and it has lots of almond farms.

What astounded the Romanian though was the carrots.  He had worked in a plant that processed carrots into baby carrots.  Until then I hadn’t thought much about baby carrots but I guess I just assumed they were small carrots.  Wrong.  Big carrots, sometimes deformed, are shaved down into baby carrots.  The shaved stubs (the driver told me) are then run through UV light to kill bacteria and packaged.  The shavings are put into bagged salads.

Huh, I thought, as the driver told me all this.   What he really couldn’t get over, the driver told me, was how many carrots came to Bakersfield.

“Twenty four hours a day, every day, there were truckloads of carrots.”  Then he changed the subject to his move to Orlando (“Why Orlando?” “Because I met a bitch who ruined my life”) and we reached our destination and that was the end of that.

Kevin McC

(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Today I was reading about Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican of Bakersfield who might become the House Speaker. Here’s a list about him from Time magazine, “5 Things You Need To Know About Kevin McCarthy,” published in June:

and here’s “11 Things About Kevin McCarthy You Need To Know, Or Might As Well Know”, a list about him from Huffington Post, published yesterday.

Here’s my smush of both lists:

  • Kevin Spacey shadowed McCarthy to learn about being a whip for House Of Cards
  • McCarthy is said to be cheery and affable
  • He opened a sandwich place with $5,000 from a lottery ticket
  • He once showed Republicans this scene from The Town before asking them for something:

  • He’s been running for office since he was like 20.

OK great, but what is he for?  For instance: since he’s from Bakersfield (I thought hopefully) maybe he will push for trains in California.

Nope, probably not, it turns out.  He also has a strong take on the drought.

Even as McCarthy was speaking, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was in Sacramento holding a press conference with Gov. Jerry Brown announcing a $50 million drought response program for the Western states, with the lion’s share headed for California.

McCarthy responded to the secretary’s visit, “Until the administration recognizes the underlying problem of federal and state regulations preventing our communities from getting the water we desperately need, no amount of spending will solve our crisis.  … I hope that, while Secretary Jewell is in the Valley, she will spend some time with our farmers who have been devastated by regulations that put fish over people.”

And, yes, the majority leader is still opposed to the high-speed rail project. When asked for an alternative transportation plan, McCarthy suggested California consult with Elon Musk.

(I think what he’s talking about there re: fish is how water flow from northern California to the southern part of the Central Valley is sometimes restricted by rules to protect the delta smelt, of which there are apparently only six, and steelhead trout. I can see how that can seem ridiculous.  But the fish are kind of a distraction, the real problem is there’s not enough water for every farmer who wants it.)

As far as I can tell what Kevin McCarthy is for is lower taxes.

Here are his top five campaign contributors, from OpenSecret.com:

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 4.56.53 PM

Zurich Financial is as far as I can tell commercial insurance.  California Resources is, duh, oil and gas:

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 4.57.46 PM

Blackstone is Blackstone.  Who is this Grimmway Farms?

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 4.59.55 PM

Looked around their website:

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 5.00.52 PM

Maybe someday I will try the recipe for Easy Carrots.

The Bakersfield-based company did not invent the so-called baby carrot, which starts as a mature root that is given a severe makeover through peeling and downsizing. But the tiny product helped transform the company into one of the largest carrot producers in the world.

Grimmway has been recognized for boosting sales of the baby carrot by positioning it as a healthful snack and packaging it in ways that make it easy to pop into sack lunches or serve on airplanes.

The 2-inch vegetable is considered one of the American food industry’s success stories: Carrot consumption grew by 33% throughout the 1990s, according to the American Marketing Assn.

When supermarket chains began clamoring for the product in the late 1980s, the business opportunity seemed too good to pass up, Grimm later recalled.

“Sometimes you just have to go on instinct,” he said in 2000.

That from an obituary of Rob Grimmway.

Discussing some of this via email with longtime reader GC., who reports:

Grimmway Farm is a disgusting organization.  Their mascot is a SUPER-SUPER-HOT RABBIT who is about to give a CARROT a BLOWJOB!!!!!

Grimmway



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