Fresh Facts: Growing up in a stone fruit farm and the Nectarine

By September 19, 2015Fresh Facts, Newsletter

Thanks to Kyle for writing last week’s note from the farm for me. I especially liked the quote: “If the children of the family farm are involved and want to take the business into the next generation, then it is sustainable.” That’s an excellent observation. Most people would refer to profitability, but I can show you a lot (most) family farms that are reasonably profitable where the kids want absolutely nothing to do with carrying it on.

I think I created that negative experience to an extent with the kids in our packing shed when they were little. When I was 5, I sorted cannery peaches in the orchard, and could move the tractor and trailers forward as the crew moved through the field. Working in the shed’s a big step-up from the humidity of the orchard so Heather’s job was to put a pad and two slats on top of each wood box that came along at 4 years old, and Erik helped unload field boxes and dump them to the packers at 6.

As they grew-up, their responsibilities also increased, but a stone fruit shed is a pretty demanding place that has no set hours to create a life outside of. Fortunately, Erik enjoys the farm and farmers; Heather enjoys creatively interfacing with you all and connects effortlessly with the crew putting all of this together for you each week. Her husband Sean loves computer controlled gizmos—and what’s a fruit packing shed but a big computer controlled gizmo—so we ended-up with a shed man in the family even in spite of my child abusing. (And as an aside, the 3 year old granddaughter really enjoys helping put produce in your box, so maybe it skips a generation; we’ll see.)

So two weeks ago, Erik and I were catching Coho salmon up in Sitka Alaska. Fishing was very good and fun from a friend’s boat, but economically, the 10 bucks a pound you guys are paying for Sockeye’s a steal against just the diesel bill.

Last week, Paul and I were back-packing up about 9,000 feet. The Kings River water shed was too smoky, and the Merced (Yosemite) would have been too crowded so we did the San Joaquin. Here’s an observation. The lower foothills below 4,500 feet are fine; they know how to deal with the dryness. The oaks just shed most of their leaves and the grass has been grazed down. Above 7,000 feed, everything’s fine. The Tamaracks and such have been there for hundreds of years and have seen it all. But that 4,500-7,000 feet belt is a tinder box. There are huge swaths where 90% of the standing timber is dead from the drought. Those areas are going to burn, whether this year or next and there’s not going to be a lot we can do but try to protect communities; sad.

Okay, wow, I just wanted to thank Kyle and talk about hiking and here we are. Where I wanted to go today was: Growing a perfect Nectarine in an imperfect world. Let’s see how far we can get.

The universe is kinda stacked against a nectarine ever making it to your home, and you could substitute any of the produce in this week’s box for nectarines in this story. We’re producing real organic food here in a world of crazy expectations based on fake, synthetic products, and I want to relate this into our own Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest impacted lives.

Author Uncle Vern

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