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KIDS of Summer

“Working in Peaches” was the terminology used back when I was a teenager sitting around the cafeteria table discussing which packing house we would be spending our summer vacation in.  Back then, “working in peaches”, meant long hot days and nights in the packing house, folding boxes and box tops, working in culls, and loading trucks headed to market.  And while, my time in a packing house was over 30 years ago, peach farms have relied on local kids and young adults to work for as long as they have been growing peaches.  Packing house owners, farmers, and parents expected the sheds to be full of young folks ensuring that the peaches were packed, and kids were learning a work ethic and character they would carry with them forever. For us it was more than a summer job—it was a rite of passage.

 As our mail-order/retail business increases, we find ourselves needing more seasonal help every summer.  And who better to fill these positions than local young people.  This summer, we were fortunate to employ 20 young folks to participate in the 2019 version of “working in peaches”. For 14 of them, Pearson Farm was their first job, and for most, this was their rookie season. We had 6 returning veterans who have a combined total of 34+ seasons at Pearson Farm. The job responsibilities for these 20 are pretty similar to those of us who worked in peaches years ago.  They are still folding boxes and box tops.  They are grading peaches and filling boxes for shipment as well as moving pallets of peaches and loading trucks with boxes for shipping to our customers. Like us, I’m not sure they understand the importance of their role  within our business or how heavily we rely on their young minds and bodies to accomplish large tasks. But at the same time, they are here building relationships, work ethic and character just as we did all those years ago.

 As the 2019 Peach Season draws to a close, we bid farewell to our “Kids of Summer”.  We wish them the best as they head back to high school, start new chapters as college freshmen, or return to college to finish their degrees.  We would be remiss if we let them leave the Farm without sharing the amazing accomplishments they achieved during the season.    These 20 "Kids” told stories, enjoyed music, shared snacks, and laughed.... alot, as they made over 11,000 servings of ice cream, carried more than 8,000 boxes of peaches to customer’s cars, and graded, filled, labeled, and shipped over 48,000 gift pack peach boxes that were shipped far and wide.  It has been quite a summer.  One for the record books to be exact!  We are so proud of the team who assembled here every Monday – Saturday for the last 12 weeks.  Their effort was tireless, their commitment spectacular, and their attitude extraordinary.  While working on this blog entry, one of our “Kids” tagged me in a post he had written about his experience this summer.  With tears in my eyes, I read his words and knew nothing I could write would describe this group and their summer of “working in peaches” better.  Thank you Josh, and the rest of you "Kids" for blessing Pearson Farm this summer.  (Ms. Nettie, Ann, Sarah, Marla, Hailey, Sam, Tee, Hunter, Garrett, Jacob, Brandon, Jasmine, Brenda, Allison, Jackson, Al, Jim W, Walker, and Meg)

“I can’t believe that today is my last day working at Pearson Farm this summer! I entered the summer with a plan A and plan B. Neither worked out, and I’m so thankful for that. Working at Pearson Farm allowed me to get to know the wonderful team who worked there this summer. From listening to music while we work on the conveyor belt, to talking about food, school, life, or something else, folding thousands of box tops (literally), and mailing out over 48,000 boxes of peaches, I had a blast with everyone. Thanks to Jim and Mrs. Angela for providing a welcoming and fun working environment and for being so gracious and accommodating. Thanks Mrs. Nettie for your inquiries and concern for us and our well-being. Thanks Mrs. Ann for the fun you bring to the back and singing. Thanks Mrs. Lynn for showing me the ropes and letting me help you. It was always fun to work on the special orders. I appreciate and will always remember your stories, jokes, and big grin. Thanks Marla for putting up with me in retail and for your kindness and generosity. Thanks to Jacob, Garrett, Tee, Hunter, and Sam for your friendship. Thanks to everyone else who worked this summer. Every one of you contributed to making this summer great. I smiled just thinking about each one of you while writing this.

 

Before my first day, I checked out the blog on the farm’s website and stumbled across an article that talked about the “Pearson Farm Family.” To be honest, I rolled my eyes. I thought that it was just marketing or hype. “Sure, every business calls themselves a ‘family,’ but it’s really just work and a job.” However, this summer has proved me wrong. We ARE a big family, and we have our parents, grandparents, and crazy aunts 😂. Nobody can ever take away the relationships formed, experiences had, and skills learned from this summer. I came looking for a job; I leave part of a family. I could not be more blessed! The biggest shout out goes to God who orchestrated all of this to work out this summer.

 

Josh

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