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June 23, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

EPITAPH FOR A PEACH: Four Seasons on My Family Farm by David Mas Masumoto (Harper-Collins: $12; 233 pp.). In this warmly poetic meditation, Masumoto explains why he refuses to stop raising Sun Crest peaches, which boast a superior flavor but lack the storage capability of bland, recent hybrids. He balks at the notion that food can become "obsolete," especially when people still enjoy it. Masumoto sees farming as the process of learning to adapt to the unpredictable whims of nature, rather than wresting a living from the land: "I dance with nature and we seem to constantly be switching leads. Huge rewards may not await me, but perhaps it's the music and the motion that's important."

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