I hope everyone is enjoying "Stone Fruit Season" as much as I am! As a young girl, I lived in a house surrounded on both sides and behind, by a seemly endless apricot orchard. There was also a large walnut orchard across the street -- an almond orchard up the road to the left -- and cherry orchards to the right. I was completely immersed in orchard life and loved it!!
I well remember all the seasons that passed and all the hard work involved tending the trees before harvest season arrived. In summer, the orchards are humming with activity, as they’re irrigated, monitored for pests and pruned to optimize production as the fruit grows to maturity. Summer is peak harvest time. Growers check the fruit day by day, waiting for the proper color, size and maturity to be reached. A single orchard will often see at least three pickings over the course of a week to ten days so the fruit is harvested at just the right time. When harvest arrives, the fruit is harvested from the trees by hand using totes or buckets. The mature fruit is carefully selected from the tree, piece by piece. And this is only during harvest season. Year long the orchard is plowed and tended with great care.
So the next time you reach for that wonderful summer fruit (hopefully local & organic) take a moment to think about and appreciate the year-long process that nature and the farmer went to and send a little "thank you" out into the world. I know I will!!