Well, everybody, here I am again.  Wait.  Am I?  Where is here?  Tuesday.  Yes.
One month of harvest season to go, and this is often where I find my mind these days.  It’s just… somewhere.  You all know the summer is hot.  That has a lot to do with it.  You also probably guessed that we climb a lot of ladders and carry a lot of boxes of fruit around, and that has a lot to do with it too.  Hmm.  A lot.  What is a lot, you ask?  Well.
 A while back, someone asked me how many peaches we pick every year.  We did a bit of farmer-math and came up with approximately 120,000 peaches.  Just peaches.  Add in the nectarines, and that might come out to about 200,000 fruits.  Add in the apricots, and we might be somewhere around… I don’t know… 400,000?  450,000?  Don’t ask about the figs.  Melons.  Tomatoes.  Raspberries.  Strawberries.  Et al.
That might seem like a big number.  But I’ve been considering lately how that number doesn’t even come close to the number of decisions that have to be made in order for our fruit to make it into your CSA boxes.  This is getting fun, now.  Let’s go back in time.
Step one.  In the spring, we ‘thin’ the fruit, meaning that we remove about 50-75% of the little baby fruits that the trees produce in order to reduce the weight on the branches and increase fruit size and quality.  Let’s say the average is 50%.  That’s 450,000 decisions.
Step two.  We pick each variety about 4 times as the fruit ripens gradually.  So, for each ripe fruit that is picked, that’s another 450,000.  But, as we go through multiple times, we also have to decide NOT to pick the unripe fruit.  I can’t wrap my sleepy brain around how to calculate that, so let’s just say 450,000 again.
Step three.  We sort the fruit into three ‘quality’ grades (perfect, semi-perfect, and ugly).  You guessed it, another 450,000.
Okay, so, arithmetic.  My calculator says 1,800,000 decisions.  Just to thin, pick, and sort the stone fruit.  Wow.  Maybe that has something to do with it.  Tuesday.  Yes.

Nooks and crannies

The days are long, hot and itchy. The summers are relentless and unforgiving. The fruit-laden branches demand your watchful attention lest they drop their fruit before you get your $2.85/pound. Regardless of how much you could use a hearty meal, a solid eight hours of sleep, or even just a few pages of a favorite novel, the cogs of the food system machine grind on. It’s so easy to get lost in it, to lose yourself. But outside of this tunnel vision, tucked in all the nooks and crannies of the trees and soil, there are a myriad of little hidden treasures to find. Sometimes we slow down just enough to notice. I captured some on camera for you.

An enchanted orchard:


Fungal friends, such as this birds nest fungus.


And creepy crawly buggos the size of your thumb.


Lizards basking in patches of sunlight.


Farmers’ best friends, of course.


A creekside hideaway free of peach fuzz and direct sunlight.


Wondrously large fruits of our labor.


Joyrides in the back of Katie’s pickup.


And some damn good peaches. Duh.



A while back, we met with our business advisor, Thomas (Kitchen Table Advisors), and he said something that has been rolling around in my brain a lot over the past few weeks. Memory is a funny thing, so I paraphrase, but here it is:

“A farm is basically made up of the people that work it”

You all know us by the fruit we harvest from the trees. The juicy peaches, the silky apricots, the vibrant nectarines. The succulent berries, drooping figs. And yes, by tasting them, you experience all of ourselves that we’ve poured into them through the year, over the years. But, of course, we are all more than that. So, in the name of the Local Food movement, in the name of Know Your Farmer, allow me to sketch you a portrait.

The trees are groaning with peaches. The quiet clang of boots on aluminum rings like muted bells as we climb up, and down, softer this time, gently cradling an armful of tender fruit. Eric plays Motown, and laughs brightly at every one of your jokes. Brianna whispers sweetly to the trees, and apologizes for bending their branches. Kyle wears Crocs, and quietly cracks a joke – his eyes twinkle when he knows you overheard. Tree is waxing poetic about fine wine and good food, and always finds something in common with everyone. Yurytzy is quietly observing, and never misses a beat. Kaitlin is talking about her feelings, and she wants to hear about yours too. Emma is getting us excited about her new idea, a brand new way to see the world. Neil is making sound effects, and offering to help. Daniel never stops smiling, and always has something positive to say. Mel is showing up to pack the CSA, and singing like an angel. Maria is dancing along, and offers to work out that kink in your neck. Jack has his mind on a hot spring, and yet, here he is, helping us out in yet another fruit emergency. I look on, buried in a warm, ripe Red Haven, and I can’t help but smile.