Tales from the Trail
NEW PARIS, Penn. – What is the biggest competition for an apple orchard owner in rural Pennsylvania?
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin thought she knew the answer when talking to Matthew Boyer of Boyer Orchards.
“So is your competition imports from China?” Palin asked Boyer, as she stood in a barn in front of bushels of all different kinds of freshly picked apples at the family-owned orchard.
While it’s true that China is a huge apple producer and the United States’ share of world exports continues to decline, competition from China wasn’t Boyer’s biggest concern.
Boyer told Palin he was more worried about apples from Washington state, which produces some 60 percent of the apples grown in the United States.
In fact, the issue on Boyer’s mind was immigration.
Boyer employs migrants to pick his apples, and it is becoming harder to find people willing and able to do the work.
“We need workers. We can’t get any local person for it. It’s hard work,” he said.
“It’s increasingly difficult to find legal help. People don’t understand this immigration issue.”
Palin quickly turned the conversation to one of her preferred topics — the need to cut taxes, especially for small business owners.