Things are in full swing in the orchard for the last week. We have one four hundred box order every year from a guy in Kansas(southwest of Garden City) who grandpa claims is the representative of a church group, though he told me he puts an ad in the paper. The cooler is Jam packed, and having some trouble keeping up with the daily heat sink of one hundred boxes of ninety degree peaches(with a specific gravity very close to 1- that juice!). Thirty years plus in years of service delivered by the compressor unit already; the R-12 refrigerant must have been grandfathered in. At least that is what I can devise from the maintenance man who changed our defrost clock and topped off our refrigerant during the sweltering heat of july. The days and nights are much cooler now. I even woke up cold this morning, having only a mexican blanket and a T-shirt on. It is a struggle at times to determine which peach it is that we are picking exactly. It is easy enough to determine that peaches are ripe and ready, but the maps that I made last year from grandpas failing memory have some drawbacks. The early varieties are two rows here two rows there, and really indistinguishable unless you are a peach aficionado. There are seventeen different varieties on the orchard. The peaches that I have marked as Red Globe, and these are some that I’m most certain of, have been debated at a market that we sell to in denver as some other variety. Obviously this puts that vendor and myself in a tough spot. People in general want some kind of conflict in their lives, and I’m imagining little old ladies at the fruit stand putting up a fuss because the peach they see is not as they remember the Red Globe to be. “There are no red striations around the peach seed.” I can hear them saying it now, despite that I found some redness surrounding our peach seed here. Those peaches were juicy and delicious and of a good size. I don’t think I can do this next year just for having to deal with the denunciatory consumer.
Why is it that even the slightest blemish is regarded as a mark of the inedibility of a piece of fruit. Some scaring from rubbing on a nearby branch is enough for many people to scoff at a box of peaches. The same for tomatoes, squash, peppers, and the like. I understand that you don’t want to cut into an onion and find that the outer half of it is soft with fungus, but there should be a much lower threshold for edibility than there is. There is significant waste at many farms due to this fact. One farm I won’t name that I worked at previously marketed their kale as “swiss cheese kale” in order to make their weekly consumers aware that there are ubiquitous holes due to the overgrowth of aphids. His customers are surprisingly enlightened about our food systems, for what other group would buy any kale with the slightest of defects. There will only be more problems as monoculture farming continues to dominate agriculture, largely due to subsidies provided by government such as the farm bill.
The generation of which I am a part has been slow to make changes to the status quo, in regards to fossil fuels. For the most part, if a person can find a way to make a descent living then they don’t care. It matters not that you drive an hour to work, or sit in traffic for longer durations. Talk shows in this age capitalize on people stuck in traffic. How can we all be dismissive of anybody flying to Florida or California for the weekend. I have the biggest problem with older people who are set in their ways, the first group to travel via motors in droves. Grandpa was born in 1932. He tells me about some of the family history, because that is really important to both my grandparents. We have German blood I guess. My red blood cells carry oxygen just like any other. My great, great grandfather tried to grow some produce when he first got here from florida, but moved back to Kentucky where they had come. I see the planet as one big family, and we are all in this together.