From 1965 to 1977, I worked side-by-side with my mother and uncle on the old farm, growing mostly peaches and tomatoes. Mom would be in the orchard or field with us until about one hour before meals, when she would walk up to the house to help her mother prepare the food. On days when there was less farm work to do, she took care of the flower garden.
In 1978, when mom was a mere 61, the family farm was sold and she “retired” to just taking care of her own home and property. After 35 years of this, it’s a bit understandable that she is finally slowing down. She gave up driving several years ago and now has her groceries delivered. But even when they are in peak season, she won’t order fresh peaches or tomatoes, as the store produce can’t come close to her farm-fresh memories.
Erwin “Duke” Elsner is a Michigan State University small fruit educator.