CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Autumn is regarded as one of the most popular seasons. The temperate weather, cozy clothing, and comfort food everyone loves are also accompanied by something else that makes the season special, namely, watching your Aunt Carol engage in an activity that many rely upon for their sole means of sustenance: agrarian labor.
Now that the weather isn’t a blistering hellscape, the middle class white populations of affluent suburbs will naturally begin the yearly migration to the lands their ancestors used to till or, more accurately, lands that they forced other people’s ancestors to till. Apple picking and pumpkin picking, far from being activities engaged in to avoid an early death for mere pennies, will become the most popular leisure activity for those Virginians who live their lives out of an L.L. Bean catalogue.
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Hank Frasier, owner of Friendly Creek Orchards outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, is always surprised by the turn out every fall, “It’s weird really. My family came to this country and began the drudgery of tending to the land so that their children could go to school and become white collar professionals. Now those white collar professionals get blitzed on cider and pick a few apples to escape the drudgery of staring at Excel spreadsheets all day.”
When asked if there was any sort of irony to this situation, Frasier responded, “I don’t know, maybe? All I know is that for one season a year, I get to lay off all my regular picking staff because there’s not enough work to go around. Heck, two years ago I brought in a whole harvest on the backs of some investment banking firm who needed a team-building weekend.”
Sandy Meechum, a local accountant, is always thrilled to take advantage of picking season. “It’s great and so relaxing,” she said, excitedly. “Picking fruit is so easy and fun. I swear, I could do it for hours each day. Those migrant workers don’t know how good they have it. You know, when they say that immigrants will do the jobs regular Americans won’t do, I never believed that for a second. All I need is a cozy sweater and a mug of cocoa and I’d do this for months in order to earn a subsistence level wage.”
Some autumnal pickers were less than pleased with the season’s offerings this year. Frank Henderson, an attorney, recounted his experience picking pumpkins with his family. “We just had a brutal day,” he explained. “I couldn’t find the right flannel shirt to match my wife’s and all of our Instagram photos came out faded, and not in a cool way either. Plus, my Yeti thermos didn’t keep my cider warm. I guess the farm life just isn’t for me.”
Despite setbacks like these, there is always a fun time to be had throughout Central Virginia in the autumn. Frasier was optimistic that this year would be the best yet. “We’ve had such a great turnout, it’s making me want to expand the operation. In fact, I have a cousin over in Texas who’s looking for some cheap construction workers. I think I could sell that experience to a few office workers looking for some fresh air. As long as they can post about it on social media, I can get these folks to do anything.”
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