Missing peaches spark confusion


Calen Moore

On Monday, the Ag department discovered most of their peaches had been picked. The department was disappointed because they intended to sell the peaches for a fundraiser.

Calen Moore, Cheyenne Miller, and Annette Meza

 The sun rose over the Agriculture department Monday morning on campus to reveal that a large portion of the department’s peaches were missing. 

“I came in Monday morning and one of the last trees we had producing a lot of peaches was just picked clean,” Joshua Morris, Ag instructor, said. 

The missing peaches caused a panic in the department. The fruit was intended to be sold for a fundraiser for the students to do community service projects. The mystery of the missing peaches could be chalked up to in previous years, the produce was free for the taking. However, times have changed.. 

Joshua Morris, SCCC Ag instructor, asked for pictures to be taken of some damage to equipment. He claims this piece of irrigation equipment was cut.

For years the Ag department has offered the “fruits of their labor” to the community as part of a grant that provided equipment and crops for the Ag department to use for educational purposes. A stipulation of the grant allowed for the community to enjoy fresh produce. 

Additionally, the Ag department is no longer operating under this grant. The Ag department students voted on using the fruits as a fundraiser opportunity this year after slowly phasing out the practice of allowing people to freely come pick fruit. 

However, the majority of the peaches had already been picked by members of the community at the encouragement of the President of Seward County Community College. 

“I encouraged people in this community to pick peaches,” SCCC President Ken Trzaska said. “I’ve had people come to me and thank me–I tell them don’t thank me, it’s their campus too. I would do it again.”

The Ag department reported that they had produced more fruit than in years prior, due to the climate southwest Kansas experienced this year.  

“The fundraiser was originally going to be for a community service activity and raise money for stocking stuffers to give foster care students something nice for Christmas this year,” Morris said. “We currently don’t have a backup plan, but we will think of something.”

Calen Moore
In years previous, the peaches along with other fruits and vegetables were free for the taking. However this year some limitations wanted to be put in place, which is why the department was surprised when the peaches appeared to be gone on Monday morning.

The President defended his position on the issue, saying “I have been here for four years, I’m all about collection, collaboration, and community. Letting people come in and see what the Ag department has going on is a good thing,” Trzaska said. “If there was a vision for the fruits it should have been made clear,” Trzaska continued.  

Morris had some safety concerns saying, “If someone had tripped and fell, who would be liable? Our main thing here [at the Ag department] is making sure people are safe. We want to allow the community to come in and pick fruit and see what we are doing, but in a correct way with some limitations.”

Both Morris and Trzaska commented on the quality of the peaches saying they were “juicy and flavorful” for southwest Kansas. 

The Ag department will continue to produce fruits and vegetables in the near future.