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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fruit/Vegetable/Nut Basket

My respect for our our farmers was renewed as we drove through the Central Valley, our nation's fruit/nut basket, this past weekend. We passed by thousands of acres of orchards filled with trees in perfect rows, laden with fruit, such as pistachio, pomegranate, pecan, walnut, peach, pear, apricot, and plum (the citrus i.e. orange, tangerine and lemons had all been harvested ).
Interspersed between the orchards were acres and acres of tomato, pepper, potato, and corn.

Along the road, we passed by dozens of huge trucks filled to the brim with bright red tomatoes (heading at the canneries to be packed into cans), garlic and onions.

Thinking what the farmers must do to get that peach or nut or tomato to our kitchen table caused me to pause for a moment. All I could think of was the work involved... the planting, the weeding, the trimming, the tilling, the pollinating (oh we need our bees!), the irrigating, the harvesting, and the shipping. On top of all that, our farmer must rely upon mother nature's grace... for some years are good and some are not so good.

And then I thought of my attempts to create a mini fruit basket in my back yard.

I have planted a gravenstein apple (died last year), peach (always had peach leaf curl and died after 3-4 years), apricot (never got any fruit and eventually died)...

I have three surviving cherry trees (one has only produced cherries one season..that is over twenty years), and between the other two, we have very meager crops. The birds devour the cherries before I have a chance to pick. Check out my pathetic harvest this year:

I have a pear but count only 6 pears on the tree at this time:

and an Asian pear which always produces a bounteous crop...

that is if I can harvest the fruit before the ravenous squirrels get to it.

I don't know how those farmers do it....

All I know is I am so glad I don't have to rely upon my harvest to eat ...if I did, I would surely starve.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Hey....that pear looks pretty good Karen. I really don't like seeing my harvest eaten up by little critters that didn't work at growing it too. I do love to see the progression of the San Joaquin valley crops from the spring to harvest. This year has been a great help having an increase in water supply. I didn't realize you had a cherry tree.Ours was eaten by the birds in two days!