Avocado. Sprouts. An overpriced, gluten-free bun. Just a few of the special ingredients that turn your average, quarter-pound hamburger into an exotic 'California burger.'
Now you can add one more ingredient to the list: a dangerous, highly toxic cocktail of chemicals that are being injected daily into thousands of acres of California farmland.
As part of the extreme energy process known as fracking, big oil companies are shooting dozens of hazardous chemicals into America's most productive farmland, the San Joaquin Valley in central California. Increasingly employed by companies like Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) involves drilling a deep well into the earth and injecting millions of gallons of toxic fluid -- a mix of water, sand, and harsh chemicals -- at a high enough pressure to splinter the rock and release oil or natural gas. While other U.S. regions mostly frack for gas, here in California all fracking is for oil extraction. And in the San Joaquin Valley, where almost 50% of the country's fruits and vegetables are grown, they are pumping those chemicals into the same farmland where I get my tomatoes, grapes, and yes, that avocado I put on my burger.
It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase California cuisine.