EAST-WEST Rail Grant Video and O Those Willow Creek Peaches

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group presented an overview of Trinity County’s recently obtained grant to study an East-West rail route.  Will this be the study that  finally drives the stake through the vampire’s heart?  I’m all in favor of studies. They’re nonpolluting, for the most part,  and they keep State and County employees off the street. So I say, Study ON!  Study it to death!!  Good training for fledgling Associate Governmental Program Analysts, or whatever they’re called these days.

Anyway, the recent program was a preview of the study.  The only concrete fact that stayed in my mind after the meeting (and I’m still thinking about it) is this: there are NO incorporated cities in Trinity County.  None.

Charlie Bean provided the following  two videos of the presentation.

HERE is Part One.

And HERE is Part Two.  Many thanks, Charlie.

Well, all this talk of Points Eastward coincides with the appearance, however ephemeral , of WILLOW CREEK PEACHES at Murphy’s. They had some last week  that were about the size of tangerines and really ugly,  but God were they good!  Eating-over-the-sink good.  Hopefully they’re be back soon. And all this talk of Willow Creek peaches reminds me of the several happy years I spent as a member of the Eureka Kiwanis. Kiwanis used to have a powwow during the summer hosted by the Willow Creek Club that everyone looked forward to all year. They had a pit bbq, excellent food and everyone had a great time and everyone went home with something.  I came home with a lug of tomatoes so big and ripe I carried them around to the  neighbors that very night.  And I don’t like tomatoes! but these were fantastic.

One year my big shepherd jumped into the river and couldn’t get out because he was so weighed down by his wet fur.  Ben Doane of the HCSO waded in and rescued him.  (Thanks, Ben! I’ve never forgotten that.) I don’t know if Kiwanis still has its Willow Creek barbecue, but go if you’re invited. Hearts are broken and mended, careers are trashed and salvaged and there’s lots of good eating. A lot of the folks I knew from then have  passed but I hope the Willow Creek club is still going strong. Good people.


8 thoughts on “EAST-WEST Rail Grant Video and O Those Willow Creek Peaches

  1. Hi Julie, I must weigh in on the tangerine-sized peaches at Murphy’s being depicted as “Willow Creek peaches” Mario Gambi, Vernon Young, Don Wooden and Max Rowley, peach orchardists from the last century in Willow Creek are rolling in their graves. These men understood that a good variety of peach grown in the Willow Creek region such as the Red Haven, Elberta, J. H. Hale and Empress would grow to the size of a soft ball and would be filled with the juiciest flesh and a richness in flavor. Whenever I see a peach the size of a tangerine on display in stores on the coast and the little sign proudly says, “Willow Creek Peaches”, I know there is a backyard hobbyist with a few trees who doesn’t know his peach leaf curl from his brown rot selling an inferior product to unsuspecting rubes.

    Remember the scene in Crocodile Dundee when the mugger pulls out a knife and Dundee mocks him saying, “You call that a knife” and then pulls out the much larger and more impressive knife and says, “Now, that’s a knife….” I wish these old timers were still around selling the fruits of their labors on their truck farms in Willow Creek in the summer months.

    I really didn’t mean to disparage your post on Willow Creek peaches, it’s just a sense of pride knowing I had to mow that damn peach orchard several times a summer in the 102 degree heat for God knows how many summers.

    Oh, and by the way, I can’t stand picking peaches anymore…or snapping beans…or shelling peas…..or blanching and freezing corn or rototilling or any and all of those chores dealt to us boys from growing up on a produce and fruit tree farm. Ha! Nah, I like my Safeway, just fine.

    But, I will have to say, I do miss the rotten tomato fights we used to have on Halloween.

    • You didn’t disparage any one but Murphy’s and I loved your comment. A few years ago I was driving around with some relatives (we had gone to the Hoopa Rodeo) when suddenly my uncle started saying ‘Go left” and insisted there was a fruit stand just ahead He hadn’t been there in fifty years and yes, it was still there. I wonder if it was yours.I agree Safeway is more reliable than Murphy’s. Murphy’s is like the little girl with the curl- when they are good the are very very good and when they are bad they are horrid kind of like Winco.

      • I’m thinking you may have gone to the Young Orchard.
        My father died in 2003, Don Wooden a year or two later and Mario Gambi died in the late 1970’s. Vernon Young’s family had the last fully operating peach orchard up until just a few years ago. Although, there are new starts like the Jacques Newcomb farm and others who have taken the lead.
        But, those poor, poor pitiful peaches that are delivered to Murphy’s and Myrtle Avenue Market are despicable. Kind of like offering a mess of surf fish (smelt) up for dinner and saying, “Look, fresh-caught Coho Salmon!”

        • Agree they’re pitiful but they sure taste good. My great-grandfather, James Nellis, grew peaches and plums on KNEELAND in the 1880’s and ’90’s. Don’t know if anyone does now. Have you thought of writing a piece for the Humboldt Historian on the peach farms of WC.? Your information is great!

          • Nellis family in the Kneeland area, eh?

            My Great-Grandmother and her family were out in Showers Pass/Iaqua Buttes area at that same time. My mother’s family were Johnny-Come-Lately’s to Greenwood Heights in the 1940’s, but attended Kneeland School. They got rides to school from Mrs. Paddock in the mail truck so they would have a bigger school population instead of going to school in Garfield (Freshwater)

            My dad was a local historian and lecturer in the 1980’s through 2002. He wrote many articles for the Humboldt Historian. On his death bed, I turned in his last manuscript to be published in the Historian.

            Margaret Wooden, wife of Don Wooden and board member of the Willow Creek/China Flat Museum would have waaaaaay more information on the peach industry history in Willow Creek.

            from 2006 until 2009, I kept a blog called 299 Opine (now sadly deleted) based upon Eastern Humboldt history and culture that had a bit of popularity. Ernie Branscomb had Ernie’s Place and he would pass along history pertaining to Southern Humboldt. Facebook and such made such things obsolete.

          • To me, FB hasn’t made everything obsolete because its too damn hard to look things up on FB. The Nellis family migrated from Kneeland to Falk (Elk River) at some point, maybe in the 1880’s. They also farm there and grew apples but I think their main source of income was a shingle mill, in Falk. In the early 1900’s they moved into Eureka where ggf built the house at 1735 E Street (corner of Wabash) that’s been a computer store and is now divided into flats. IT’s not in very good repair right now. Wish I could buy it. The view is unbelievable.

  2. A lot of CSD’s in Trinity County, Water Districts, Water Companies, etc.
    So, a lot of elected board members. considering its population of ~13k people(4th least populated county in the state). Also, lets not forget that 75% of the county is administered by the State or Federal Government.

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