POLITICAL NOTES: Made in America

Together, California's Imperial and Coachella Valleys form one of the wonders of the New World. Stretching from the Mexican border to the outskirts of Los Angeles, the area is a lush, natural hothouse, larger than the state of Delaware and yielding as many as three crops a year ("You plant the seeds," a local saying goes, "and jump out of the way"). Within 50 years the valleys have been changed from sun-cracked desert (summer temperatures range from 100° F. to 120° F.) into one of the biggest irrigated regions on earth, and one of the richest. In this improbable...

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