Somehow the invisible fibrous itch found its way from my hands to the creases of my elbows. What seemed like seconds later, my shoulders were burning as if the warm July breeze had washed my entire body in prickly fiberglass. A few steps further in the process, there was still no “This is worth it” reward. Because the peaches on the tree I was waist-deep in, at the top of a tall ladder, were still green.
That was the stream my consciousness took during those young summer days spent thinning out the hard green orbs of baby peaches.
I’m currently far removed from that scenario, finishing out a year of life at the east side of the never-ending Los Angeles suburb proclaimed as an empire. Sometime between those young summer days and now, I became an optimist, so I tend to reflect on even those itchiest of times with a strange gratefulness.
In a few days, my family of two is moving on to Georgia. Georgia’s on my mind as they say, thanks to Mr. Ray. And the Peach State has peaches on my mind, though its neighbors to the north, in South Carolina, may contest its status as Peach State. However— apologies to all southeastern states— peaches still always take my mind even further northward to Pennsylvania.
All fruit for that matter leads me home to my childhood in the Berks County woods surrounding the rows of fruit trees, back to memories of stretching out all of my four-foot-nothing inches to reach that ideal sunset sphere that aspired to arrive ahead of its low-hanging counterpart peaches.
But that blissful thought often fades, thanks to the long hours logged thinning peaches and the adversity that cemented those memories of irritation while I was buried waist-deep in the top of forked branches.
Thinning peaches always seemed futile at the time. But with each new year I’m finding fruit in the memories of long hours, whether ’twas tying raspberry canes or lightening a tree branch’s load.
Thinning, in its essence, is narrowing the tree’s field. We often removed enough fledgling peaches to leave one or two per node, where the stem diverges from the branch. The result is less fruit, yet peaches larger in size and deeper in hue and a higher quality crop all around. Thinning prevents the broken limbs that would result from an overloaded crop, and even assists in next year’s flower bud formation.
The effects of this practice play out over months. Thinning fruit has taught me that enjoying the first-fruits of a season is often the result of preparation. But even more than that, thinning fruit makes me remember to thin the crop when it seems like everything is expected of me, and do the thing before me to its fullness.
This world truly is our playground and our classroom, and the gift of Weaver’s Orchard is one of the places that has taught me that. I invite you to head out and see what you find there.
As of today, you can venture out into the orchard in search of the first-fruits. With a stop at the check station for some direction, you’ll find yourself amongst the branches of Sentry and Glengo or the delicate white Sugar May peach.
Stop and savor the sweet air; the way the light filters through the long leaves. Then let that first sunset-hued sphere find your eye. The slowness is worth it, and your experience will be no less sweet for lack of time spent thinning. Talk about what you find with your companions, because truth be told life is better shared, and good art actually reads you; like a mirror. Fruit is some of the best art of all, green or ripe.
The 3rd 4th Generation Weaver
Lightning Round (Quick Facts & Resources about Peaches):
- Freestone peach varieties such as Flame & Fury and Red Haven start next week
- My preferred method of peach consumption: Sliced over granola & plain greek yogurt
- Keep it fun and look for doughnut peaches…literally Doughnut. Shaped. Peaches.
- Get reflective while eating any of the peach varieties above:
-What matters most to you?
-What is less of a priority?
-Write down some boundaries and goals. Thin out distractions. Live fully.
-Eat a peach. Connect with someone.
- Venture out with some of these recipes.
- Thinning resources:
–Nerd Level 1000