California's Fruit Police

March 27, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

In yet another example of some of the hard hitting Chicago-centric blogging that earned us a spot on the coveted Paul Sullivan list, I bring you this: California has fruit police. For some reason, I thought this was common knowledge. I recently found out that not only do out of state people not know this, but they can't even really wrap their heads around the concept. Here is the gist of it:

When you drive into California, you are stopped at an inspection station where you are asked if you have any fruits or vegetables. If you do, they will be confiscated. Why? Some time ago, a fruit fly devastated our crops and killed off 1/3rd of our population (exaggeration?). This basically means its more trouble to enter California than to enter a lot of foreign countries. In Europe, you can drive from country to country without ever having to stop at a border, but not California.

A lot of times, if you have California plates, the fruit Nazis will just wave you through. Other times they ask you the dreaded agricultural version of "Papers please...". If they are bored though, they may ask you to open your trunk. This is definitely more common at the inspection stations off the main highways.

Now, I know you're thinking you can beat the system. You want to lead a glamorous life running illegal fruit into the state Smokey and the Bandit style. Don't do it! Smuggling illegal oranges into the state is punishable by death.