Voices in the Orchard

Sour cherries: one hour after picking, one hour before eating.

At Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, the trees are heavy with cherries and the bushes full of blueberries. If you don’t watch where you’re walking, you’ll step on something good to eat.

We spent a few hours there over the weekend, filling our baskets with fruit and picking vegetables. It’s quiet on the farm, but besides the hum of bees and chirping birds there was an interesting sound: a mix of languages from across the globe.

All around were people speaking in the native tongues of the Far East, India, Eastern Europe, and Russia. They outnumbered those speaking English by two to one. Children raced around between the trees as their parents filled big containers with cherries — and some families found a shady spot to picnic.

One group was harvesting huge bundles of greens in the cucumber patch. I have no idea what they were gathering, but what looked like weeds to me is probably delicious prepared in the right kitchen.

This is something I’ve seen during every visit to Samascott. While I hate to draw conclusions from such flimsy evidence, it seems to say something about our relationship with what we eat.

Do we care less about where our food comes from than people who have roots in other cultures? Judging by the international crowd filling the orchards and fields, I wonder if they know something that we’ve forgotten.

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