Passion and strawberries are a flavorful combo for Elizabeth Ibarra Vivanco, a first generation, organic farmer from Ciudad Constitution. She provided insights about Fresh Bounty, on the outskirts of Todos Santos, as part of a Baja.com tour of a Baja California Sur.
Ibarra Vivanco has farmed for 10 years, and operated the past four organically. Only three years ago, cactus covered the plot we visited, which now houses strawberries from September’s first planting through June’s final harvest.
Strawberries are raised and covered with white plastic to retain moisture in an arid climate, to repress weeds, and for food safety, to keep berries from touching the soil. In California, they use black plastic, because it’s cooler and the darker color won’t cook the berries.
Ibarra Vivanco goes to great lengths to protect and optimize her crop. For instance, she shields rows with flowers and legumes (which become nutrients as mulch), they source an orange mite called persimilis from Holland to combat spider mite, and they use reflective tape and bullet-less rifle fire keep the birds away.
Overall, Ibarra Vivanco grows 20 acres of strawberries. Her brother grows radicchio, celery, and sugar snap peas. They’re certified by CCOF – Certified Organic Farmers – to sell in California through Earthbound.
Seasonal workers come from Veracruz, Oaxaca, Nayarit and Guerrero. Ibarra Vivanco provides housing and medical coverage. As she said, “Growing strawberries in the desert, it’s quite difficult.” She wants to make sure support’s there for people putting in the effort.