Have you looked out your window sometime this week and shuddered a little? Because it has been wet more often than not, cloudy, the wind is gusting today 20 to 30 miles an hour and it looks like a great day to curl up with a good book. But there is something going on that you have to face if you are a farmer and you have a crop waiting for you. It is the weather and how it will affect your life.
Because the apples are ripe as they are blowing in the wind. And when they are ripe their stems start to loosen up, the apples start to fall and the ground becomes littered with a sea of red or yellow. The pickers, bundled in their warm jackets are working furiously with the picking buckets. As they fill the buckets they scurry down the row of Apple trees to carefully roll the apples into the 20 bushel boxes. Then back to the same tree to do it all over it again. Most of the pickers are young men and women, transitory, here for the growing season, and they work very hard.
The pickers have their problems but as the farmer, so do you! This is your livelihood. You have worked all year with this crop. Sprayed, mowed, trimmed, thinned the apples, prayed a lot and now here you are. You have managed to pick and haul the earlier varieties, but there are still some late ones. Ida Reds, Fuji’s, and Granny Smiths, they all require a longer growing season.
It is not just the larger growers, it is the smaller mom and pop orchards that have their whole life tied up in these fields of fruit.
And so, whether it is raining or not, blowing or not, you will do the best you can to get your apples into the hands of the people who enjoy eating or cooking with them. For generations Michigan has been blessed with wonderful, hard working men and women and children who have taken care of the farms for all of us. The pickers, the tractor drivers, the sprayers, the sorters, everyone who worked in the rain or the hot sun, all have contributed to the general public welfare. We are so lucky that so many have brought good food to our table.