Longreads

Have you eaten a California almond lately? Or drank one of those pomegranate juices in the orb-shaped bottle, or enjoyed a “Halo” brand mandarin? Well, thank a California farmer and read Mark Arax’s 20,000-word feature in The California Sunday Magazine to understand your role in draining the groundwater of California’s interior.

In the works for 20 years, Arax’s phenomenal story, “A Kingdom From Dust,” profiles Stewart and Lynda Resnick, billionaires who grow almonds, pistachios, citrus and pomegranates on desert land they have never tilled or irrigated themselves, land that taxpayers and state and federal water have helped them turn into a dangerous and lucrative agricultural gamble. Stewart is the landowner and Lynda the brains behind the marketing of their company, providing employee-friendly brands with healthy snacks. After all, the Los Angeles market sits just 130 miles from their San Joaquin Valley fields.

When Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman co-wrote the 2003…

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