By Jerry Todd, staff writer
In this conservative oil and agriculture community of Bakersfield, California high schools and carrots are living proof that business and profit aren’t a zero sum game. What a private citizen does with his/her trait of being “poor in spirit” regardless of wealth or success is an example of efficient use of money the “progressive” or OWS’er can’t even dream of with his lust for bloated federal debt burdened dollars.
Founded in 1947, Catholic Garces Memorial High School has spent several million dollars in the last few years upgrading its campus, especially in science classrooms, chapel, landscaping and athletic facilities. They have a 100% graduation rate. One strong motivation was recent competition – competition – you know, competition – from the new Christian High School across town in a newer area. At my grandson’s football game I studied the bronze plaques crediting the various donors from awesome to wonderful. I noted one particular family I didn’t know had Catholic roots.
Not many people know the two high schools benefitted greatly from America’s number one snack food – baby carrots! No insult to the oil men, major growers of citrus, grapes, almonds, pistachios, cotton, stone fruits and dairy products who are the mainstays of church and community support. Our junior college sports an 18,000 seat double tier stadium never touched or compromised by state or federal dollars. Our county also boasts major aerospace and defense research facilities from Edwards AFB where Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier to the Mojave Spaceport where the first nonstop flight around the world occurred to China Lake Naval Weapons Station where the town of Ridgecrest sports the highest number of PhD’s per capita in the world.
Carrots were always a major crop in Kern County, but the ugly ones never made it to the supermarket – they were sold for cattle feed at $17/ton. Then came a bright idea from a few locals – a male grower and a female publicist. Real baby carrots (just the smaller pretty ones from the harvest) were always popular with the gourmet set. Why not grind those misshapen carrots into baby carrot size and shape and package them as a snack food? The grindings also have a major market in food supplements, additives, juices, health food, coloring, etc.
Thus was born a multimillion dollar market with two families being among the biggest beneficiaries. One donated millions to build Christian High School, the other to Garces High School for its major improvements. $1.89/lb is a long way from $17/ton – $17 to a net $32,000/ton! And that’s not including the revenues from the grindings and juices to make vegans happy!
That’s called free enterprise and many have made a great living all across the food chain from one bright idea. Such is the greatness of America some folks have difficulty understanding it’s not a zero sum game! It’s a golden (orange) opportunity for all.
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