Down on the Farm: Part 3
I know you all are probably wondering what a typical day is like here at Quaker Valley Orchards. So let me tell you about it.
Our work day starts at 6 a.m. We all meet at the shop and punch the time clock. Every day is not the same. Patrick would let me know what our duties are for that morning. If our boss and his wife need something for the farmers’ markets, that would be our first assignment for that day. That calls for picking, cleaning, and storing the fruit and vegetables for the farmers’ markets.
We usually work in pairs when picking. Most of the time I’m working with Presley; it’s one of the easier jobs for me except when picking the gooseberries. I say that because they have many thorns on the vines that we have to pick through to get to the berries. The guys usually joke with me when we pick them, because they know it’s not one of my favorite duties. One of the other guys usually does the cleaning. We have to be careful not to bruise them so they can stay looking nice for the markets. The cleaning looks easy, but the fruit and vegetables have to be handled with care, because we don’t want to drop or puncture them.
Apple picking season is right around the corner. There are more apple trees on the farm than any other fruit, and many different kinds. So before the apples start to peak we have to thin the trees. We also have to thin peach trees. Thinning the trees is a major duty. It can take hours and days to do, maybe weeks, because there are so many trees.
Thinning consists of taking some of the fruit off the trees. The purpose of thinning the trees is that it helps the fruit grow bigger. Without thinning, the fruit won’t grow as they are supposed to. This is one of the duties that I struggle with, because all the trees are not done the same. The guys usually watch me when we are thinning, so that I don’t take too many fruit off or leave too many on. We usually end the day thinning the trees.
When the work day ends we all go our separate ways. I shower, eat, and do some writing, which helps me from being bored. I’m still the only one in the house until the other workers arrive on the 20th. One day after work I was invited to go fishing with my boss and his nine year old son J.C. I had never been fishing before. It was a chance to do something different. We went down to the pond. My boss set my fishing rod and bait for me. After about an hour I caught me a catfish. I was so happy. I took it back to the house and showed it off. My boss said I was like a big kid and I felt like one. He told me how to clean it and I had catfish for dinner that night. That was one of my most joyous days down on the farm. Can’t wait to do it again.
On Fridays after work Patrick takes Presley and me to the bank, grocery shopping, and to run other errands. That’s the only other time that I get to see the town and leave the farm.
That’s my typical day down on the farm.