Arizona Highways: The Navajo People Growing Peaches In Canyon De Chelly

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 1:27pm
Updated: Monday, July 27, 2020 - 2:33pm

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Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

Planting peaches Canyon de Chelly
Julien McRoberts/Arizona Highways
Sylvia Watchman and Ron Garnanez break up clods of dirt as they prepare to plant a young peach tree at the bottom of the canyon.

Let’s take a trip between the sandstone walls of Canyon de Chelly in northern Arizona, home of Spider Rock, the remains of ancient villages — and peaches.

Kelly Vaughn is a senior editor for Arizona Highways magazine, and she met the Navajo people who still tend to the peach trees that have survived in the canyon for hundreds of years — and have seemingly been shaped by their unusual home.

Vaughn described the peaches with reverence in the magazine’s May edition: "It’s as though the fruit has absorbed the colors of the canyon walls. Yellow. Pink. Orange. Amber. Rose. Coral. They’re the colors of a sunset over Spider Rock. The colors of the sand from which the peaches grew.”

The Show caught up with Vaughn to talk more about her piece and the long history behind peaches in this unlikely place.

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