Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm

By David Mas Masumoto

HarperSanFrancisco/Harper Collins, 256 pages
Hardcover, June 1995 (four hard cover reprints)
isbn 0-06-251024-X
Paperback, June  1996 (21 paperback reprints)
isbn 0-06-251025-8

Purchase at Amazon.com

Also consider:
Epitaph for a Peach and Harvest Son: Spoken Words and Story Songs (CD)

Epitaph for a Peach Book Cover“Sun Crest is one of the last remaining truly juicy peaches.  When you wash that treasure under a stream of cooling water, your fingertips instinctively  search for the gushy side of the fruit.  Your mouth waters in anticipation.  You lean over the sink to make sure you don’t drip on yourself.  Then you sink your teeth into the flesh and the juices trickle down your cheeks and dangle on your chin.  This is a real bite, a primal act, a magical sensory celebration announcing that summer has arrived. “ (from the prologue)

As pleasurable as a perfect peach, Epitaph for a Peach tells the passionate story of one farmer’s attempt to rescue one of the last truly sweet and juicy fruits from becoming obsolete in a world that increasingly values commerciality over quality.  The story of Mas Masumoto’s Sun Crest peaches begins on the day he turns the bulldozers away from his orchards and vows to give himself four seasons to find a home for the fruits of his labor.

At once a deeply personal story, a sharp commentary about the state of American agriculture, a lighthearted rhapsody of nature, and an intimate glimpse into the Asian American experience, Epitaph for a Peach is about saving a peach, saving a farm, saving a family, saving a way of life–it is a story about finding “home.”

Epitaph for a Peach:   winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award for Best Literary Food Writing, 1995 and the Critics’ Choice Award 1995-96 San Francisco Review of Books

Praise for Epitaph for a Peach
by David Mas Masumoto

“Masumoto’s style is lyrical… Epitaph for a Peach is an important book.   It is not resignation but stoicism that tinges this text, eliciting sympathy and admiration.” Maxine Kumin, New York Times Book Review – August 6, 1995 (cover story)

“(Masumoto’s) lyrical description of this fine fruit is enough to make a peach lover drool and also weep…  Anyone who thinks farming is dull will have that view corrected by Mr. Masumoto’s charming and often exciting tale, and anyone who deplores the disappearance of truly good fruit will share his distress over the substitution of mere endurance for fine quality.” Phoebe-Lou Adams, Atlantic Monthly, July 1995

“It’s hard to imagine any food, any fruit more sensual than the peach, and Masumoto has here written a chronicle of the craft that awakens all the senses. What a gentle voice!” Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Time Book Review – June 11, 1995

“Masumoto uses his farm as Thoreau did his Walden pond. (Masumoto) is a grower of peaches and grapes. He also is a writer, a wonderful writer.” Peter H. King, Los Angeles Times  February, 1995

“With poetic flair and a sense of humor, Masumoto offers his perspectives on the joys and frustrations of raising and tending peaches and grapes. Many books about family farms today present an image of economic and social distress, but this work portrays the positive aspects as told by a farmer  who enjoys his work. Recommended for public libraries.” Library Journal, April 1, 1995 (starred review)

“In this lovingly rendered account, the author describes his efforts to maintain his unique organic farm and find a market for his juicy but unpopular fruit….  Earthy, gentle, and sensuous. Mas Masumoto has a nice touch and charming perspective.”
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1995

“This is a peach of a book, as delectable as the Sun Crest peach Masumoto is struggling to save. The author, a third generation farmer, gives  an eloquent account of one year on his farm… Masumoto’s book reveals his commitment to the land and his family; it is also a cogent commentary on American agriculture.” Publishers Weekly, May 22, 1995

“It is a beautifully written book about one man’s covenant with the earth to yield good food.” Dorothea Brooke, Eating Well Magazine

“Most farmers farm a great deal better than they write. Most writers who live in the country can’t farm for beans. But David Mas Masumoto is a true farmer and a gifted writer.” Noel Perrin, author of First Person Rural

“Del Rey-area peach grower David Mas Masumoto’s “Epitaph for a Peach” is at once a contemporary look at Valley agriculture and a look back at the ties that bind farmers to their land. But it’s so much more. His seductive, spare-prose style invites readers to share his observations and emotions but doesn’t preach. Masumoto’s brilliant descriptions about the seasonal looks and sounds and smells of Valley farming remind the reader of Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence.” Lanny Larson, Fresno Bee Book Review – May 8, 1995