The 2005 selection for the Silicon Valley Reads: One Book One Community
program is "Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm" by David Mas
Masumoto. This nonfiction selection chronicles a year in the author’s quest to
save the Sun Crest peaches grown on his family’s farm.
"Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm," by David Mas
Masumoto, is the chronicle of a year in the author’s quest to save the Sun
Crest peaches grown on his family’s farm. But more is at stake than peaches.
This son of Japanese Americans interned during World War II is also working to
preserve a way of life.
Interweaving his family’s story through the four seasons of his story,
Masumoto demonstrates the faith, patience, and determination required to run a
family farm in a world of agribusiness. As Publishers Weekly puts it "This
is a peach of a book, as delectable as the Sun Crest peach Masumoto is
struggling to save."
David Mas Masumoto is the author of "Harvest Son," "Planting
Roots in American Soil," "Epitaph For A Peach: Four Seasons on My
Family Farm," "Four Seasons in Five Senses, Things Worth
Savoring," "Silent Strength," "Home Bound,"
"Country Voices, The Oral History of a Japanese American Family Farm
Community," and "Letters to the Valley: A Harvest of Memories."
He received the James Clavell Japanese American National Literacy Award in 1986.
A third generation farmer, Masumoto has a bachelor's degree in sociology from
U.C. Berkeley and a master's degree in community development from U.C. Davis. He
also attended International University in Tokyo, Japan.
"Epitaph for a Peach" won the 1995 Julia Child Cookbook Award in
the Literary Food Writing category and was a finalist for the 1996 James Beard
Foundation Food Writing Award. It also received the San Francisco Review of
Books Critics' Choice Award 1995-1996.
Masumoto was appointed to the California Council for the Humanities board in
1994 and served as Co-Chair from 1998 to 2001. In 2002, Masumoto joined the
Board of Directors of the Irvine Foundation, dedicated to enhancing the social,
economic and physical quality of life throughout California and to enriching the
state's intellectual and cultural environment.
Author's website: www.masumoto.com
From Publishers Weekly
This is a peach of a book, as delectable as the Sun Crest peach Masumoto is
struggling to save. It is a superior variety as to taste but has a short shelf
life. The author, a third-generation farmer, gives an eloquent account of one
year on his farm in the California desert. He notes that grape and tree fruit
farmers are deprived of an annual rite that other farmers have planting a new
crop. Peach trees are planted every 15 to 20 years; grapevines, once in a
lifetime. And, according to the author, a new planting is like having another
child, requiring patience and sacrifice and a resounding optimism for the
future. Masumoto's book reveals his commitment to the land and his family; it is
also a cogent commentary on American agriculture.
From Library Journal
This book is a delightful narrative on the life of a Japanese American peach and
grape farmer in the San Joaquin Valley near Del Rey, California. With poetic
flair and a sense of humor, Masumoto offers his perspectives on the joys and
frustrations of raising and tending peaches and grapes. He describes his
relationship with the weeds and insects that invade his fields, the
unpredictability of the weather, his desire to treat workers fairly, and the
realities of the market structure.
From New York Times Book Review
"Masumoto's style is lyrical... Epitaph for a Peach is an
important book. It is not resignation but stoicism that tinges this text,
eliciting sympathy and admiration."