(NaturalNews) A Colorado fruit orchard was ransacked by locals recently after its generous owners decided to open up their private peach grove to the public for a free picking. Don and Marilyn Schanaman were horrified to learn that their benevolent efforts to salvage an undersized peach crop resulted in what can only be described as utter savagery by the lowest members of society, who saw fit to harass the family and even damage their property after the peaches had all been picked.
The Schanamans recently took ownership of Rancho Fruita, a fruit and vegetable farm located in Palisade, Colorado, a town just east of Grand Junction. Because their first season's crop of peaches was too small to sell on the market, the Schanamans decided, out of the goodness of their hearts, to open up the orchard to the public, and allow free peach pickings in order to prevent the undersized crop from going to waste.
Barbaric hordes trashed orchard after peaches had all been picked
After a local news outlet ran a story about the free peaches; however, many area residents and others began showing up en masse at the orchard both day and night to pick the fruit, with some people literally pounding on the Schanamans' front door late at night demanding access to the orchard. Within just a few days of the announcement, all the peaches were gone, but that did not stop some people from continuing to both harass the family and destroy their property.
"At first people were pretty respectful, but then there was a huge mass and it began spiraling downhill," said Marilyn to The Sentinel, adding that some people actually turned violent upon learning that all the peaches had already been picked. One person reportedly threw rocks at the Schanamans' house, while others actually drove their vehicles into the orchard, damaging trees and breaking pipes.
Neighbors also targeted by peach mob
Besides damaging the family's personal property and private orchard, many of these same brutes also broke into a nearby neighbor's property to pick fruit from their orchard, which was obviously not part of the free picking. Even after the Schanamans put up signs that the crop had already been picked, and that no trespassing was allowed, some people continued to wreak havoc on the property.
"It cost us a lot to give away free peaches," added Marilyn, noting that the cost of replacing the damaged pipes was more than the family received in donations for the free peaches. "I'm just really disappointed. 90 percent of those who came were great, but that other 10 percent [was] just crazy," she lamented, quipping about how there will be no more peach giveaways at Rancho Fruita in the future.