Epitaph for a Peach chronicles a year on Mas Masumoto's farm in the great Central Valley of California. If you are not familar with his work, Mas is a third generation Japanese American (Sansei) farmer, a disappearing breed. If you were raised on a family farm, Mas nails the experience right on the head. His writing is accessible; doesn't require that you have a degree in Literature to understand. He weaves a tale that keeps one engaged.
The book opens with a prologue written by Mas that was published in the Los Angeles Times. Mas laments having to bulldoze his Sun Crest peach orchard in order to plant a more "popular" and profitable variety. (The article was syndicated nationally - I don't know how I missed it.) This sets the stage for Mas' effort to find a market for his peaches as well as tell his story of life on the farm. Each season brings work and change. He disputes the notion that a farmer's life is unchanging. It is also filled with symbolism - egrets, owls, ghosts - and optimism. The end leaves you with an unanswered question - does the peach orchard survive beyond the year chronicled in the book?
If you are a refugee from a family farm, have spent time on a family farm or want a vignette into the life of a Sansei farmer, I highly recommend Epitaph for a Peach.