Maureen Buchwald feels that the need for contract labor arose as the nature of the family farm changed.
"In the past . . . farms were smaller and . . .more people were involved. . . . There are very few people working on farms today. . . . When it comes time to do the crop we need somewhere around twenty to help. When this farm was planted, corn farmers used to help harvest this farm, but now that isn't possible because now a thousand acre corn farm maybe has one or two people operating it. There's no way they can go pick apples for their next door neighbor."
Although she originally tried to find locally based labor, Mrs.Buchwald has to come to enjoy the family that works for her every fall. "We have a really great working relationship with them. They are nice people and good at what they do." She remembers with fondness watching the children grow up: "I'll never forget the first time it snowed . . . the children were so excited . . . they ran outside . . . and were horrified to find out that it was cold." The workers also enjoy their stay on the farm. "When they're out there in the trees they sing, which is nice".
After harvest time the family travels back to their home in Florida, and Maureen Buchwald prepares her apple trees for winter. For this apple farmer, contracted labor is just part of the seasonal cycle which characterizes life on an apple farm.
photo credits: Beth Belanger