Rita Collins delightedly forages deep into a peach tree to pick as her husband, Chris, watches at Howard's Orchard. Some customers come in July to pick their own peaches and then return in October to select ripe apples.
Children collected fallen apples to feed the neighbors' horses at Howard's Orchard last week.
Jim Howard has worked the acreage at his orchard with his own hands since buying the property in 1978. He land his wife launched the pick-your-own produce farm in 1984.
"This place is hard on you," says owner Jim Howard. "It's like having a baby. You can't go off and leave it." He does most of the farmwork himself. But last Wednesday he played some tunes for children visiting the Catalina orchard and farm.
In 1984 James Howard started what he calls "a community project," selling produce to his friends and neighbors.
Lexi Woodyard, 6, examines a peach she’s just picked at Howard’s Orchard. Her mom, Shelly, in the background, grew up nearby and used to come to the orchard as a child.
Julia Vos, left, lunges for the perfect peach as Mary Jordan, right, studies one she has picked. The farm also sells tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, pears, pecans and walnuts by the pound.
Robin and George Budy take a break to picnic before beginning to pick produce on their visit.