Francisco Pacheco is in his 39th year working the peach orchards around Palisade.
He was 17 when he first took a bus from his home in Sonora, Mexico, to join a seasonal crew pruning, thinning and picking peaches. He is about to wrap up a year that has been particularly tough because of sweltering heat and a bumper crop. There have been many 10-plus-hour shifts and too few days off.
Ask him how difficult that work is, and he simply holds out his large hands in answer. The palms are yellowed with callouses and as thick and tough as a heavy pair of leather gloves.
“Hay muchos duraznos,” he says – there are many peaches needing to be picked.
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