So my friends, what do you get? Another year older and deeper in debt!
I’m sorry to open this uplifting post with such a negative vibe, but I’m trying to make a point. Unlike the song lyrics that I just quoted, my sentiment on this past year culminating with our recent Labor Day Harvest is nothing less than overjoyed. Please allow me to explicate (to use a term favored by my dissertation supervisor a few years back)!
Just a few pictures to get you in the mood, then here comes the sermon.
What I just shared with you is not my path to fame and fortune, it is my way of sharing God’s greatness with all of those who choose to stop by. The people in the preceding and upcoming pictures represent my amazing family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Remember–at picking time there is no “I’ll stop by tomorrow, or I’ll catch you after dinner”. There is only “I’ll be there to help”. None of the people who come to the picking party get paid, none of the people who are pictured here are forced to sit for several hours picking hops. They do it because they want to help! They do it, I think, for the same reasons we do it. They do it because it gives them a sense of what is really important in a life, what really matters among communities of human beings. We want to share our happiness with our closest beings, and what better way to do that than to sit unplugged for a few hours and celebrate who we are, NOT who we are trying to become!
WE ARE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL TO THOSE WHO WANT TO HELP! All we can offer these people is a roasted pig, some drinks, and a few hops to pick. I have an idea that they come and help us for some deeper purpose.
Being a person who comes from a loving Italian family who still reminisces about the best times of our lives being represented by the hours we spend enjoying each other’s company around the meals of family get-togethers’, I have some ideas why the hop picking party is so satisfying. For one, I truly believe that the greatest joy in life comes from the bonding that occurs when we are involved in common goals that cement our relationships together. Although some would comment that we can not depend on volunteer labor for our profit, Alva and I would come back with “The volunteer labor is our profit”.
What we mean by that is that we realize a whole summer’s worth of tending to our Hops in the few hours that we get to spend with our family and friends during the harvest. Whatever money we make from the sale of the hops goes back into the farm to make next year’s experience better! Secondly, how many of us spend our lives chasing the dollar without taking the time to relax and see life from a different perspective than that which is thrust upon us by our media driven world? I believe there is a lot to be learned from those who lived a much simpler life.
We grow Hops because we have land suitable for growing hops, because we need something wholesome to do when we retire, and because we love the way we can bring people together when its time to celebrate the harvest! Our Hop farm is a representation of who we are and what we believe in.
It is in this light that I leave you with the following pictures that I believe capture the true spirit of why we do this. Brothers, sisters, friends, spouses, parents, neighbors, grandkids, great grandkids, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, business associates; basically a whole community of people enjoying each other’s company. Right here at Orange County Hops. God bless you all, thank you for being such an important part of our lives!
With love and respect,
Alva and Papi
“I would rather spend my life trying to get happy than die trying to get rich”