By Brad Kava
The minute I saw the help wanted ad, I knew we had to do a story about what looked like the sweetest job in Santa Cruz.Driscoll’s was looking for berry tasters, people to eat and review berries for one of the largest berry growers in the country.What?!!! Who wouldn’t want to do that? I was ready to apply for it myself.But it turns out, there’s more to it than eating and giving a thumbs up or down. It takes some real training in food science and developing your ability to describe and categorize tastes and two months of classes before they let you loose on the fruits.
Only 25 percent of those who apply are picked (no pun intended). And, as strawberry scientist Jane Kostina told me, a lot of guests who visit their berry fields eat 10 or so and think, ok, that’s it, I’m done….but NOOOOO…a real berry expert has to eat a whole lot more than you can imagine. That’s just the start.
The thing I’ve loved about being a lifelong journalist is learning something new every day. My mentor, Lacey Fosburgh, used to say if you aren’t learning something new as a reporter and loving it, you’d better find another line of work. I’ve had a long career of having my eyes opened and my visit to Driscoll’s was a highlight.It’s amazing how much is going on right in our backyard that we don’t know much about. Jeanette Prather’s sweet cover story will take you somewhere you haven’t been, to one of the largest businesses in the world you probably know little about right now.
PS: We got to sample strawberries that tasted like pink lemonade and were nothing like any berry I’ve eaten before. I really hope they sell those to the public sometime.
There’s so much more in this issue you will love:
Music and your babies; how to leave your kids home alone; good works by local students; kid artists; Suki’s salute to great moms; the new Capitola library; major computer advice; theme park tips and a really funny cartoon worth putting on your refrigerator.
Next month is our first of two Back to School issues and we’ve got a ton of information you will need to get prepared for summer’s end.
Thanks for reading; enjoy and have a berry good time.
Brad Kava, Jennifer Ford
and Steve Dinnen