Balancing work with work: On day jobs and land hunts

By Stacia Cannon, Topp Fruit The juvenile plums were a pale, unappetizing green. Then, almost overnight, the trees were adorned with rich purple, speckled fruit. Naked and new, the plums continue to swell and gain even darker, more brilliant hews. In the orchard and elsewhere it has been a very fruitful year, replete with many successes, but also persistent, grinding challenges. Balancing an off-farm job with the often unpredictable needs of the orchard is a constant battle. When I’m not ranching I work for a vet, and Harrison works part time for the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Harrison has the freedom to work remotely, so most days he drives to his “office” at the orchard, a small makeshift desk and a folding chair on the east side of the barn. With internet access and cell phone reception, Harry has everything he needs, plus a killer view of the orchard overlooking Paonia. Still, our home on the ranch is an hour-and-half away—an already long day is made much more taxing when you add a three hour commute on top of it. Since the orchard is so far from our home, my ability to help out with maintenance is limited to my days off from working at[...]Read More