Purchase photos

Family delivers peaches to masses





Adam Pfannenstiel was looking forward to spending a quiet Labor Day weekend at his parents' home.

This year, the Wichita chiropractor found himself on the road a whole lot longer than the three-and-a-half-hour drive to Damar, doing labor of a different kind than normal.

Upon arriving in Damar late last week, Pfannenstiel jumped in a pickup pulling a refrigerated trailer for a 1,000-plus-mile round trip across the Rocky Mountains and back with his dad, Linus Pfannenstiel.

Saturday, the father-son duo pulled into Orscheln Farm and Home Center in Hays, greeted by a crowd already gathered long before the announced 10 a.m. start of the sale.

"I thought when we drove up, we wouldn't have enough," Adam Pfannenstiel said of their trailer loaded with 250 boxes of Colorado peaches and pears.

It was a good thing the Pfannenstiels had held back 40 boxes in Damar for their son to take to Wichita with him. The rest of the truckload -- with the exception of two boxes -- went to area residents.

"I'm going to make pies and cobbler all winter," Niki Bartlett of Ellis said as she maneuvered a dolly cart with four boxes of peaches toward her vehicle.

"Homemade ice cream," added her friend, Cheryl Rathbun.

"It's a madhouse over there," said Linda Brin of Plainville, who said she planned to freeze most of her peaches to make pies for her grandsons. "Glad I got here when I did."

While his dad stayed cool inside the trailer, handing out boxes to his son, Pfannenstiel's mom, Debbie, greeted customers and answered questions along the way, ranging from how to freeze peaches to how fresh this load of fruit actually was.

"They were picked within the past couple of days," Adam Pfannenstiel assured customers.

"The reason they seem a little hard now, we don't want them to turn to mush as we haul them across the mountains," he said of their trip to Palisade, Colo., approximately 15 miles from Grand Junction near the Utah-Colorado borders.

"But," he said, "they will ripen within the next day or two."

The Pfannenstiels have made similar trips twice a year since 2007 but thought this year was a bust because of a late freeze and drought.

Then, they received a call last week that there would be enough fruit available for one trailer load. They in turn quickly called their son, who was planning to bring his family to Damar for Labor Day weekend.

"I'd prefer to do it not on a holiday," Adam Pfannenstiel said. "But it's just the way it worked out this year."