Growing season and economic situation
Grapes of Wrath Ch. 25 Hannah Pearson
In the valleys of California the spring is beautiful. The fruit blossoms and grows so heavy the limbs bend under the fruit.
Behind the fruit are men of knowledge, understanding and skill. They experiment with the seeds to develop greater crops.
Men of chemistry protect the trees against pests. They remove and burn infected plants to prevent the others from becoming infected.
As the fruit ripens they discover they can't pay the wages for pickers. The fruit starts to rot. The Joads had jobs as fruit pickers and were paid low wages. “The purple prunes soften and sweeten. My God, we can’t pick them and dry and sulphur them. We can’t pay wages, no matter what wages. And the purple prunes carpet the ground.”
"The little farmers watched debt creep up on them like the tide. They sprayed the trees and sold no crop, they pruned and grafted and could not pick the crop. And the men of knowledge have worked, have considered, and the fruit is rotting on the ground, and the decaying mash in the wine vats is poisoning the air." The farmers are going into debt and their fruit is rotting because they can't pick it fast enough.