In the interview they cover:
America is no longer a nation of small family farmers. Small–scale farming has become rare, and the average age of those remaining farmers is 57. What wisdom are we losing as these farms disappear? When parents no longer pass their farms and knowledge of the land onto their children, what do we lose as a nation? What does it take to be a family farm in this era of large–scale corporate agriculture? David Mas Masumoto is a third generation organic peach and grape farmer. He is also a third generation Japanese American. How do these two things overlap? Masumoto joins "Weekday" to discuss what wisdom can we glean from our farming history.
David argues that it takes years, decades even, before you can master farming. That it takes repetitive, hard work and the understanding of what that means. Even mastering weeds takes years to be able to distinguish which ones are problematic and which ones are prevalent in certain parts of the field. It's all part of the experience of working the land for years.
He also explains the difficulties of organic farming since there's no magic bullet to managing pests. It takes a lot of managing the fields, trial and error and taking notes about what works where. There are also issues with deciding when to pick the fruit so that the fruit is perfect when it reaches the consumer. Since he works mostly with soft fruits (peaches, nectarines and grapes), he is constantly trying to supply perfectly ripe fruit.
If it is picked too late, even a day or two, the fruit will be bruised by the time they reach the seller. At that point, the farmer pays back "adjustments" since a certain percentage of the product arrives damaged.
David farms 80 acres in California. This book is his seventh book about farming. If you are interested in farming, check out the interview and/or his books.
If you have done any farming or have experience with farms, do you agree with the author that it takes decades to master farming? Do his statements about farming scare off potential younger farmers or is it an accurate assessment? That the knowledge and wisdom of farming is hard earned and takes years to master?