1 a.m. Alarm Clock Sounds
Esmeralda awakes to another day of harvesting broccoli. She sets out the items her daughters will need, leaves a note for her mother, and then catches a bus crowded with other northbound workers headed to the Somerton border crossing.
4 a.m. Northbound Border Crossing
Esmeralda waits in a lengthy line to gain access to the U.S. When cleared by customs, she walks with seven fellow travelers to the CalVans vehicle they use for vanpooling. Jaime the driver and CalVans staff member Hector greet them as they board. The vanpool makes two stops to pick up additional riders who also work at the broccoli field.
6 a.m. Arrive at Broccoli Field
As soon as the sun gives enough light, the crew begins the day’s work. Men follow the broccoli-processing trailer and cut the broccoli stalks. They toss the bunches to Esmeralda and her female co-workers riding in the trailer. The women place the broccoli bunches into shipping boxes. As the sun travels across the sky and the trailer moves through the rows of broccoli, the task of cutting, tossing and boxing broccoli continues—an unbroken routine, except for breaks and lunch.
2 p.m. Depart Broccoli Field
During peak season, Esmeralda’s job can take as many as 10 hours, lasting until 5 p.m. or later. Today’s work will finish earlier due to the approaching end of the growing season. Once the broccoli-processing trailer makes its last pass, Esmeralda and her fellow workers gather their items to begin the trip home.
3 p.m. Southbound Border Crossing
After making the same two stops, the CalVans vehicle arrives at the Somerton border crossing. Esmeralda bids goodbye to Jaime and Hector and spends about 45 minutes passing through the inspection station.
5 p.m. Arrive Home
After the bus ride home, Esmeralda helps with dinner. She has been away for 16 hours and looks forward to spending time with her children before the day ends. All too soon, the alarm clock will signal the start of another day.