Salinas Valley was once the heart of the nations flower-growing business. But collapsing wood and plastic greenhouses are being replaced by tall high-tech european structures guarded by gates, barbed wire, and security cameras.
Back in the 1950s through the 1980s when the flower business was blooming, there were about 130 greenhouses here, supplying fresh flowers across the United States.
Now, 80 percent of all cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from South America.
Seeking to improve a decaying infrastructure and protect open space, Monterey County allows marijuana cultivation only in existing structures or in the “footprint” of former structures.
The CEO, Steve DeAngelo at Harborside Farms, plans to harvest a stunning five crops per year.
Property price spikes are fast and furious, offering financial security for struggling old-timers willing to trade petunias for pot. One farm, worth $1.25 million two years ago, just sold for $5.1 million.
Local contractors are booked with a two-to-three month waiting list for greenhouse construction.
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