Tuesday, July 6

Thinning Peaches

Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall
If I can't have you all the time, I won't have none at all
-- Gillian Welch

While working up at West Haven Farm, I found myself cheating on the apples, with another fond friend of mine, the peach.   The trees were in desperate need of thinning as the heavy crop had already begun to weigh down the branches.  It was my first experiencing delving into the world of peaches and although some may find it a bit cliche, I found myself dreaming of Savannah, and thinking with a slight southern drawl, as I plucked the small, not yet fleshy, fruit from their branches.
Thinning peaches is an entirely different ball game from apple thinning. Too many peaches can easily weigh down, or even break a branch.  I was given the visual analogy of allowing for at least a soft ball size spacing between fruits.  Again I found myself in the position to dictate natures course, doing so in a somewhat efficient fashion as to not spend all day circling a single tree. 
Feeling as though I was dropping many more of the fruits than I was leaving on the tree to ripen, I began to wonder how symbiotic the relationship I was cultivating truly was, if at all.  My days in ecology courses back in college left be with the understanding that humans have the capability to form a mutually beneficial relationship with the natural world around them.  Lighting a spark on a prairie, for instance, served as a biological cleansing, before the dawn of large scale agriculture largely snuffed out the practice.  Was I doing the tree, or the peaches I left behind, a favor by making space?  Does sustainable organic agriculture imply symbiosis, or just a reverence and understanding for the gift that  the land provides?  For me, these are unanswered questions that would require many more meditative hours in the peaches.  I am just thankful that my time in the trees gives me the space to mull over such inquiries.
Peach harvest should begin in a few weeks and I can hardly wait to bite into one of these jewels of the summer.  With less than two months until the start of the apple harvest there are still some tops of trees up at West Haven waiting to be thinned.  If all goes well this will be done before I pour some local cream over my first peach.   

No comments:

Post a Comment