Be Wise Ranch and its Suburban Neighborhoods

We live in the Sonata Community in South Escondido, within walking distance to Lake Hodges, a major shopping mall, a large high school and a community park – and unfortunately, to Be Wise Ranch, an organic farm. One would think that’s a good thing. I believe in organic farming. However, organic farms do not allow the use of pesticides, and the result is that our neighborhood is infested with eye gnats.

I have lived in Southern California for 30 years. We have a near perfect climate all year round. We like to enjoy the outdoors, to garden, grow exotic plants, have a glass of wine on the patio, doze in a hammock. But we cannot do any of these things where we live. If I go outside and start washing my car, within 20 seconds I am busy swatting gnats from my face and ears. I cannot spend five minutes planning anything in the yard without being frustrated by constant gnat attacks. I cannot sit outside and read any time of the day. We can never have meals outside on the patio, something we love to do. We cannot entertain guests outside. It’s a nightmare.

I don’t know the exact statistics, but there must be many thousands of houses within a three-mile radius of Be Wise Ranch in all directions. All of these neighbors have this problem. They have petitioned to San Diego County for help. The farmer has provided advice and traps. We have tried to use the traps and they turned out to be useless. Yes, some gnats got caught, but those in my face must have been the smart ones.

Here is a “gnat fence” comprised of traps spaced six feet apart. This is within a few hundred yards of my house.

gnat fence

Traps like this surround much of the farm itself, albeit not as closely spaced. I didn’t see any gnats in any of them. Can you imagine this line of traps stopping a gnat infestation covering many square miles? It seems ludicrous, like a barbed wire fence stopping flying pigs. I predict it will be as effective as building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

But joking aside, I believe this is a placebo, put up by the farmer to make people feel better.

There is no good answer to this. Be Wise Ranch can’t produce its product without its current practices. The neighbors living there are stuck. This isn’t going to change. If you live near an organic farm, you have to deal with flies. The rumor is that Bill Brammer, the owner of the farm, lives nowhere near here. The only solution is zoning. There should not be an organic farm near subdivisions of thousands of houses, a major high school, a major community park, and a huge shopping mall. But zoning requires political will.

The result is an inevitable drop in property values. There is no chance that I would buy an upgraded property in this neighborhood, knowing what I know now.

And now I have to go out and get the mail, swatting my way to the street and back.

Link to Yelp for Be Wise Ranch

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