The Masumotos are known to say profound, deeply passionate things about their peaches. But during the family’s performance at Saturday’s harvest—the family is also known to perform—Nikiko said something that hit a very personal chord, describing an Elberta peach as a way for her to stay connected with her grandmother. I’m fascinated with food as a thread for weaving together our personal histories, which includes not only how we prepare and consume what we eat, but what we grow, as well.

I’ve heard stories about the Masumoto family’s Elberta peach tree adoption program since I moved to the Central Valley, but this was my first year as a participant. It’s an honor to be able to share in this experience—to join others from around the area state country in picking and savoring something that’s too delicate to be found in a store, and that connects us to previous generations.

The photos below are from the first day; harvest continues next weekend, with every spare hour in between committed to processing the bounty. What isn’t quite captured is the fine grit of the sandy loam, which Mas describes as perfect for growing peaches, or the intense flavor of the Elberta peach and Le Grand nectarine—the flavors are far richer and sweeter than other stone fruits, and evoke a smile that spreads beyond the cheeks and up through the crinkles in the nose when you take that first bite.