Though the grasses have slowed down due to hot, dry weather, the peaches were already set in the rains and applying some irrigation later was more than adequate to bring them to a perfect ripeness. We will harvest more than 2000 peaches this year — compared to NONE in last year’s drought — and that doesn’t count the ones left on the ground to keep the bugs and the critters out of the trees. As we say, make enough for every creature, great and small. They have to eat too.
Most of the peaches are put up for the finishing diet for our pigs, so you will have peach-pork by July and continuing into August and September. A smaller portion was reserved by Honi to make her famous peach jam. But the pigs get first choice. When we say you’re eating with the seasons, you can take it to the bank!
Why did we have no peaches at all last year? Did the trees sense a hard drought in the air and just shut down to preserve themselves for another year? Or was there some other cause? These are the questions that keep farming an interesting art. If the former is the reason, why didn’t irrigation work to make peaches? Isn’t water the same whether from the sky or from the well? My speculation is this: the super-heated drought did not effect an irrigated peach orchard but it did effect the pollinators. The bees, butterflies and wasps did not survive in normal numbers and so our peach blossoms did not germinate. If I’m right, we need to incorporate bee hives into our farming protocol. They’re farming insurance, so we will put them near the top of our capital expenditure list for next year.