| By Richard Gappmayer, Jennifer’s dad |
My father had about five acres of peach trees of several varieties. Each spring, before the blossoms came out, we would prune the peach trees. They had to be pruned quite heavily each spring or they would not produce big peaches, and if not pruned regularly, they would grow so much foliage that the root system could not support the tree and it would die.
When the blossoms came out, the bees would spread the pollen and the peaches would begin to grow. The little peaches could be like grapes on the limbs, or if there had been some freezing night-time temperatures, there may be no peaches there. We hoped for a moderate freeze that would just remove some of the small peaches. If there were still too many on the trees, we would have to thin them.
Thinning peaches was the very worst job on the fruit farm. The little peaches were very fuzzy, and no matter how we covered up, we would still get fuzz everywhere. It was very itchy. At the end of the day, the ground would be covered with little green peaches. On a hot day, it was very miserable. My father, my brothers, and some hired help did this very unpleasant task.
The trees had to be sprayed from time to time with different pesticides for a various assortment of pests. If this was not done on-time and properly, the peaches might be deformed or otherwise unsalable. Our prosperity depended on weather, pests, and hand labor.
Finally we would usually pick the peaches sometime in August. This was another unpleasant task because of the fuzz and the heat. Some years we would pack the largest of the harvest in a fancy pack box of twelve. These were sold to the department store at a very good price. The other peaches were shipped to various markets by a broker. After all of these good and bad experiences with this fruit, the peach is still my favorite.