The Last Harvest: Palisade Peach Growers Retiring

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

One Palisade couple has harvested peaches for 140 years combined but this season will be their final one. Bonnie and Leroy Ball of Ball Fruit are retiring and selling their orchard. 11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler has more on their last harvest.

Bonnie Ball says she's always loved watching the peaches grow. It's how she measures the seasons.

"I'll be sad in a lot of ways but just because it has been such a good life," she told 11 News on Wednesday.

She and her husband, Leroy, have built a life on the Palisade fruit. They have spent a lot fo time and sweat growing each tree.

The same care the ball's take with their orchard, they take with their customers.

It is after all Bonnie's favorite part of spending 61 years at the Ball's fruit stand.

"Thats the thing I'll miss the most, the people that come in and visit with me," said Ball.

She and her husband have been married for 58 years and she knew when she married Leroy, she was marrying the orchard.

"Leroy was born into it, in the house right across the street. It's in his blood."

They raised three children together. Bonnie says she's proud of them and they've made their own way, but away from the orchard.

So now they'll have to leave the sounds of sales and crickets in the trees and sell their orchard.

"We're getting pretty old. It's getting harder. We can't do as much as we used to do.

And when the last peaches are picked this year and the leaves fall from the trees, it will be time for a new season.

"We've enjoyed this season, now we can see it's changing. We have to take a lot on faith. It's always been a good life and I expect it will be the rest of the way."

But the rest of the way she'll be watching the peaches grow from a distance.

The Ball family will have their fruit stand open through October while they wait for a buyer for their land.


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