Every year it happens, the same as last year but only slightly different. Every year I think we’re ready this time. This time we’ll handle it differently. The system was built for this!
Every year though, the pit fruit breaks our system. The task of getting the squishy, easily bruised, doesn’t have any kind of decent shelf life fruit from the tree to the hand is upon us.
Our gracious donors call us earlier each year, making scheduling a little easier. The earlier we harvest the less we lose. Then the phone starts ringing a little bit more, a little more often and before we know it our harvestors are chasing peaches, apricots, and nectorines trying to scoop them off the trees before its too late. The task of keeping enough crates becomes a daily job, running this way and that attempting to stay ahead of the fruit.
Splat! Squish! Slip!
Here we go. It’s the big one. The one with a seemingly endless amount of fruit in the tree but first we must get through the slippy squishy mess under our feet. We’re out of crates again. Make a pile! Dig a hole! Call the pig guy! We’re neck deep now. The phone is full of messages. The pit fruits are falling and falling fast! After school pickup it a peach pick up! After the clock out from work its a dash to the next.
What’s that smell?
Oh that? It’s just 300 pounds of apricots in the back.
It’s getting hotter. The panic rising. We’ve got to move from the tree to the place its being donated. Fast. Familiar worries are going through my mind.
“Did I stack them too deep in the crates?”
“I should check the bottom ones before I give them away.”
“Did I return that phone call”
“I wish I could freeze these”
“Man I’m sweating so bad”
“Oh no, took that corner too sharp”
That moment when I pull in and deliver the goods. The fruits we worked so hard to get to this exact place, to be enjoyed by these exact people. The smiles of the staff and the grins of the residents as they enjoy summers sweetest treats.
It’s worth it. Every. Single. Moment.
It's worth it a million times over. Every year it’s worth it.
Keep calling, keep us on our toes. We were made for this.