Three Rivers farmers resort to digging wells as water dries up

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“It’s almost apocalyptic,” says Dawn Birch, describing the area surrounding her farm in Three Rivers. As the river and their holding ponds have dried up, she and her husband are digging their first well for the farm. Photo by Gillian Ferguson.

Market correspondent Gillian Ferguson catches up with Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Marìa in Costa Mesa. Salgado is loading up on stone fruit, which he uses in a chamoy and a peach salsa for his tacos. Next, Dawn Birch of Flora Bella Farm is seeing the drought up close. In their 30 years of farming, she hasn’t experienced such extreme drought. 

“When you hear that there is 30% left in the reservoirs, that means that farmers are not getting the water that they need,” she says. Birch and her husband, James, are digging their first well for the farm and will be returning to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market in the fall.

Chef Carlos Salgado doesn’t overcomplicate recipes with stone fruit, letting ingredients like peaches speak for themselves. Illustration courtesy of Stacy Michelson’s “Eat This Book.”

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Evan Kleiman