In August of 2012, we had the Peach Party, our midsummer thanksgiving to all the bounty that comes our way, year after year. Then Monday morning, amid tears and hugs, we sent our daughter Claire off to her last year at Cal State Monterey. Monday saw the first day of picking of the O’Henry peach, our previous peach of the season. The first planting of our winter crops has just broken through the surface of the soil. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant look like they will start about the middle of August. Beginnings and endings, beginnings and endings, may they go on forever.
The Peach Party, the Pleasure of the Peach, began twenty years ago as a celebration of becoming the owners of the home we had established here at Good Humus. We had lived and farmed here for eight years before that first Peach Party, working on faith in our future ownership. Already, we had raised our barn, planted our trees, willows and birches, peaches and apricots, oaks and redwoods and cedars, and with three children running around, had become a real family farm. So, at the signing of the deed, it was already time to invite and to honor all that had been part of the building of the farm, the community that surrounded us. The theme of giving thanks for the midsummer bounty of the luscious, voluptuous peaches came naturally, as the end of that harvest marks the end of our most overwhelming, intense period of effort.
Claire graced our newsletters with some of her prose, filling in when we were rushing around trying to complete that day’s crisis. I got used to saying to Annie, “check and see if Claire can do that,” and we got used to having a reliable backup for those frantic times. Claire has always had the subtle gift of being able to stream onto the printed page who she is, what she is thinking about, and how the world around her looks to her. And now, with the refining of the skills of a true observer and chronicler, her stories have become entertaining, flowing, and reflective of true insight. You can imagine the difficulty when the Monday morning after the Peach Party rolled around and suddenly, everything that hadn’t been said or done during the two short weeks that she was here was lost amid the hustle of a hurried leaving. As a new quiet descends on the home of Annie, May, and I, we are thankful to have had the time to discover the Claire that came home to us from Monterey, Europe, Sweden, and years of experiences.
As I sit here remembering the many more happenings of the last week, I grow aware of the hustle and bustle downstairs in the packing area. As Good Humus becomes more complex and diversified, it is a never-ending juggling effort to try to do enough of everything to keep the whole alive. From Monday’s perspective, I can see that the Peach Party is a gathering of healers, of those who care, and that there is a balm spread over the acres and our existence that produces a real and lasting effect on all that which inhabits Good Humus Produce.