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Stories by Alastair Bland

Hot Guacamole: Avocado Theft in North County

Almost as surely as avocados grow, thieves steal them and turn the fruit into quick and untraceable cash. Over the past decade, San Diego County law enforcement agencies have stepped up patrols, pursuits, and prosecution ...

Silence in the Lagoons

For 15 years, Kenny Manzoni of Adventure Rib Rides has been motoring paying customers out of San Diego to watch whales and other marine mammals. He recalls the late 1990s, when he sometimes saw in ...

Great Whites Might Be Victims

In late 2007, when local shark researcher Michael Domeier teamed up with a television crew and National Geographic to tag great white sharks off Guadalupe Island, Patric Douglas took an interest. Douglas runs a cage-diving ...

Barnyard Brew

At Bernardo Winery, 50 large redwood vats have resided in the warehouse for more than a century. Until the 1960s they were used as fermenters, but today winemaker Ross Rizzo keeps the vats as decor ...

A Green Threat to Our Groves

Should it appear in California, there might be no stopping it: citrus greening, or huanglongbing. The fearsome citrus-killing bacterium, first seen in China in the early 1900s, has spread steadily across the continents. It recently ...

The Cost of Luxurious Sushi

For the sushi-savoring diner who bites into a raw slice of bluefin tuna belly meat, the world may seem perfect for a moment, and at Zenbu Sushi Bar and Restaurant in La Jolla, patrons reverently ...

Gone Fishing?

Tim Green, captain of the 80-foot sportfishing vessel Premiere, has been motoring paying customers from San Diego Bay to the Point Loma kelp beds for over 20 years. His anglers catch calico bass, halibut, white ...

The Guacamole Crisis

Throughout last winter and spring, one could put one’s ear to the wind almost anywhere in North County and hear the buzz of chainsaws as avocado farmers cut down their trees. While this tropical fruit ...

Extra-Virgin Maggoty Oil

At Bernardo Winery, one of the oldest olive oil producers in California, oil flow has come to a standstill. While the Rancho Bernardo company has historically produced 300 to 400 gallons of olive oil per ...

Killers Reformed?

They came, they conquered, and they stayed, but you’d hardly know it if you weren’t an entomologist. After years of media hype, Africanized hybrid honeybees, once commonly called “killer bees,” have established themselves in urban ...

Panic at the Micropub

Yuseff Cherney says his revered and super-bitter Dorado Double India Pale Ale has become too expensive, if not impossible, to make. Cherney is head brewer at Ballast Point Brewing Company, which has breweries in Linda ...

Figs in Our Future

Few fruits evoke the sunny blue skies of the Mediterranean and the balmy days of September quite so poignantly as the fig, but local farmers and advanced agricultural science may be turning that image inside ...

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