Epitaph for a Peach
David Mas Masumoto
"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."
About the Author
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.
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."