You may notice that my devotion to the Blog has waned a little. It isn’t because I care any less about it; it has to do more with fatigue.
Fifty years ago, we pretty much raised apples and only apples. But as the apple business in the East has waned, we’ve diversified the crops we grow. Today, we find ourselves with a significant amount of fruit coming into season from May until late October. Moreover, instead of selling all our fruit through pretty much one channel (wholesale), we now have an active retail market, sell through Farmers’ Markets, support local grocery stores, and sell to big packing houses. We have to do this to make a profit.
Long story short, the days are longer than they’ve ever been in this business. I’ve averaged 12 hours a day, six days a week, for six months straight without a single day off. And the work is hard. I’ve dropped two waist sizes despite enjoying desert with every meal.
I don’t think this problem is unique to my family. In talking with another grower a few weeks ago, he too confessed to being worn out. He offered me a friendly warning about the treadmill that this job can become. He especially warned me about what would happen if we tried to expand the retail operation to 7 days a week.
So when people start to wax romantic about the farming lifestyle, I’m quick to correct them. At least in my industry, the job is not slow-paced, quiet, or peaceful – at least for the professionals who want to make a living at it. There are many benefits, but a forty hour work week is not one.
The good news is that there is an end in sight. We are about 3 weeks away from the end of the harvest, and about 5 weeks away from Thanksgiving, at which point we can really give Thanks and maybe take a nap on a Thursday!