The Light Brown Apple Moth vs. Veggie Trader

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Thanks to an article by Roxanne Webber on Chow, I discovered Veggie Trader, a site that helps people swap or sell their home-grown fruits and vegetables. Since the plants in our yard produce more Meyer lemons, figs, and rosemary than we could ever consume ourselves, I thought it would be a great way to get some other fruit for free.

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SARDI - Greg Baker
Well, think again. A few minutes after I posted a listing looking to swap some of our Meyer lemons for whatever people might have to offer, I got a message from a moderator saying, "it looks like you are in the Bay Area apple moth quarantine zone. You probably aren't aware of this, but unfortunately this comprehensive quarantine is in effect for many parts of the Bay Area and prohibits people from removing most homegrown produce from their property. Nuts and seeds are probably fine, but lemons are definitely under quarantine."

Say what? I'd heard about the apple moth due to stories about the California Department of Food and Agriculture's plan to spray pesticides from airplanes over urban areas, and was vaguely aware that there were restrictions in Sonoma County and other agricultural areas, but this was the first I'd heard about restrictions on backyard produce.

It turns out that since the quarantine went into effect in May 2007 the borders of the quarantined area have been gradually expanded to cover most of the Bay Area. As you can see by the dotted red line in the map below, that includes all of San Francisco (click for a larger map; see the CDFA's Web site for more maps.).

The federal order prohibits removing virtually all plants and plant materials except seeds, nuts, and houseplants from your property. It's not even legal to give fruit or herbs to your neighbor. So, until this moth is eradicated, Veggie Trader's probably no use to you unless you've got a nut tree.

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