What Are These Peaches Worth?
I canned 100 pounds of organic peaches, and gave many of those golden quart jars to our winter farm-subscription share customers when our veggie harvest was dismal. Canned peaches are not dismal. Surely people would accept peaches in lieu of squash?
Yes, our customers were delighted to eat peaches. I'm grateful to our flexible and supportive friends who share the risks and joys of farming.
When I factor in buying the fruit, jars, time, and electricity to can those peaches, we're talking $10 per quart. And none of our customers said, "That's too much for a jar of peaches." Yes, you can buy peaches more cheaply elsewhere. Our customers support us because we care about them, personally. Relationship is one of our crops. The most important one, in fact. I would have canned peaches over a wood fire for my friends, with no petroleum required.
We value resilience. You can get peaches more cheaply elsewhere. You can also bank on the fact that semi trucks are not putting peaches on store shelves because they care about you. They are putting peaches there because it makes them a profit. As a farmer, I do need to cover my costs, no doubt about it. But I am also coaxing food from the earth because I care deeply about the community I serve. That relationship is economical in the ecological, home-related original sense of "economical." We care for our home, the shared earth under the roof of sky that stretches over every being. These peaches are a heartfelt gift from a beloved hearth. And you won't find that at a grocery store.