A Note from Farmer Al: April 29, 2019
Dear CSA Members,
Thinning is something that's hard to visualize, or even imagine. You kind of have to see it to really be able to grasp it. But I'll attempt to describe it.
On a fully mature peach tree mother nature, on a good year (like this year), may give us 1000 fruit per tree. These little green peaches can be as many as 10 to a 20-inch branch. That branch probably has enough leaves on it to ripen only 3 peaches. So we must remove 7 of those 10 fruits. That removal process is called thinning. The person working looks at these 10 fruits and decides, in an instant, which 7 to remove and which 3 to keep. He (or she... we now have 20 women up on ladders, thinning peaches; and many of them are grandmas!) must make that thinning decision based on three criteria:
Size.... keep the larger, thin the smaller
Defects.... keep the unblemished, thin the defective ones
Spacing .... these "quarter-sized" fruits are going to become softball sized ripe peaches, so we have to give 'em space to grow on the branch.
Thinning time is a very exciting time of year for me. It always amazes me when I drive (in my golf cart) into rows of trees being thinned. Thinning is noisy work. Those hard green fruits are "raining" down on to the ground, many stirring the steps of the ladder on the way down. It sounds like several machine guns firing all at once. It's mind boggling how fast a good thinning crew can work.
To say the least, its a work I admire, and very grateful for