Fresh Facts 37: Stone Fruit Harvest

Listen! Can you hear it? It’s a faint rumble; maybe 2-3 days off…Hooves pounding, earth trembling, unstoppable. Some men try to run, others pretend it’s still far away, but the only hope is strong fence, tight corrals, saddles and tack oiled, horses fresh shod and courage.

The green horns have heard the stories around the winter fire but men are known to exaggerate. The old hands know; they felt it quite a while ago. Eyes narrowed, as did small talk; young’uns call it a game face but whatever you call it, when it arrives, you’re either ready to handle it, or you’re ready to take a whoopin’.

When it gets here, it’ll be wild-eyed for sure; looking for loose boards to splinter and green hands to throw but those that can hang on get an unforgettable ride that keeps ‘em comin’ back every year. It’s Stone Fruit Harvest in Kingsburg. It will be different than anything we’ve ever experienced, because every year is different than anything we’d ever experienced before. It will be exhilarating and exhausting but be sure it will never ever be boring.

Until about 10 years ago, we were a seasonal shed; we just farmed and packed stone fruit from May through September. Then we added pomegranates which gave our people in the shed another month of work. Seven years ago, we added citrus packing, so now that packing part of our farm runs year-round along with the field work, chickens, and Abundant Harvest Organics.

This year-round work makes it nice for packing your Abundant Harvest box as well because we have an experienced team who really enjoy the physical, technical, and presentational aesthetics of produce; part talent, part art.

And packing your weekly produce is a very enjoyable part of their work week. It’s a social time, a family working together time, a no stress time of placing each item in the right place; somewhat like Santa’s elves wrapping gifts with thoughts of the joy the children will have when they open and see what came down the chimney.

Last year, there was a very heavy citrus crop, so we packed oranges until we had to tap out. This year, with a lighter crop, we did the first peach and the last orange the same day, but actually, we’ve had time to strip things down, change belts and bearings…get the fences tight.

Frankly, I don’t think we’ve ever been better prepared for a stone fruit season in my life. Seasoned hands are at every battle station and green hands each have a seasoned mentor. Our equipment is also proven, adequate, and really well-serviced.

Finally, the crop—while a bit light—is clean. Thinning will finish this week.

Lastly—I’m so excited—we have lots of you guys coming out to the farm the next two weekends. It’s truly a pleasure to get to meet you all and your families, show you not just what we do, but how we do it. And I get to drive the tractor!

Eat better!

Author Uncle Vern

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