Waiting for Peaches

by: Marlene email

Fruit & Veggies Galore

Our year as defined in  fruits:   Fall is  for apples and apple cider– crunchy, crisp Pink Lady’s that we love to drive up into the mountains near Charlottesville, Virginia  to purchase  at  Carter Mountain Orchard,  along with with their  fresh pressed cider and the apple cider donuts, none  better,  my husband’s favorite .  ( www.cartermountainorchard.com )   Winter is for citrus– tangy, juicy Honeybelle variety oranges, ripening  in January, fragile so unavailable in most grocery stores,  usually purchased from The Orange Ring in Orlando, Florida,  three bushels of which we tote  to the airport and ship back to the Eastern Shore with our luggage  to share with family and friends.    Spring is for the fat red Eastern Shore strawberries, grown by various local farmers  and perfect for shortcakes and  strawberry ice cream,  homemade.     But summer…. well,  plain and simple, summer  is  for  peaches.

Peaches, Peaches Everywhere

By peaches I don’t mean the dry as dust, hard as rocks, green as gourds specimens that are the usual offerings at grocery stores, hydrocooled and ready to rot before they ripen.  No , by peaches I mean  the beautiful  rosy, orangy globes that come ripe from the tree, warm from the sun,  with an aroma straight from Heaven.  And when you peel these peaches,   juices just flow into the bowl as you slice them.   It’s hard for me to describe flavors  but let me just say that a  slice of such a peach,  soft and mellow,  is like a burst of  luscious perfume spreading through the mouth, a true epicurean delight.

Like so many good things, peaches such as this are difficult to come by.  

 They are not available in grocery stores because a tree ripened peach cannot withstand much handling.   Being soft,  it bruises easily.   No, tree ripened peaches are only available from farm markets and the very best ones are obtained straight  from a local  farm orchard.  

Luscious "Blushing Stars"

 Which is why every summer I find myself waiting for peaches.  Come the middle of June, when those old  hydrocooled fakes appear in the grocery stores,  I start thinking “wow, only 4 more weeks”,  then “only 2  more weeks”  and finally, in the middle  of July,  ” They must be ready. ”   Which is why today I made it a top priority on my way home to stop by the Pickett’s Harbor Farm Market to get my first 1/2 bushel  of their  2010 season gorgeous tree ripened peaches.   And I was not disappointed– they were beautiful, large, ripe and  juicy.  Ready to be sliced over ice cream, added to Cherrios, made into pies, cobblers and brandied peaches. And if  the energy is there, chutney and preserves.  And the great part is that they will just keep on coming, a new variety every 10 days until the first part of September, with exotic names like  “Blushing Star”,  “Paul Friday # 2” ,  “Klondike”,  “Sentry” and “Fire Star “.  Picked daily,  straight from  Tammy and  W.T. Nottingham’s   amazing  peach orchard located on Pickett’s Harbor Drive  right here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  no need for a trip to Charlottesville or Orlando,  thank-you very much.   So between now and September,  my family and I will eat a surfeit of peaches because once they’re gone,  it’s back once more to waiting for peaches.

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