There are few fruits as luscious as a perfectly ripe peach. And I haven’t had a great peach in many, many years. So when we finished apple picking, here, and realized the exact same orchard still had a relatively abundant crop of peaches on their trees, we grabbed another “peck” bag and started down peach lane. Peaches are typically at their peak in June and July in the Southern states of the U.S., but in the Northeast, the season can extend out to early September. Thankfully for us, the rather cool and rainy summer must have extended this year’s season and we had this chance to pick our own peaches. And gosh, they were pretty darned GOOD peaches.
From what I understand, peaches need a hot or warm spell to coax the sweetest and most luscious texture from the crop. But hot days were in short supply this summer in New England, so I wasn’t expecting to get a spectacular peach… Just the experience of being in an orchard and getting to pick our own peaches was fantastic enough, but the peaches we picked exceeded all expectations…
The trees were still chockfull with peaches, and one had an incredible bounty to choose from. We picked the biggest, heaviest, densest peaches we could find, and they came off their stems with the greatest of ease, a clear sign they were nearly perfectly ripe. Dozens and dozens of peaches lay at the foot of each tree, having fallen off on their own, or discarded by previous pickers, so the fragrance of ripening peaches definitely added to the experience.
Unlike the apples, these peaches needed a day or two soften a bit more. Apparently, once you pick a peach, it doesn’t ripen or sweeten any further, it just gets juicier. This differs from say a mango that can go from green and sour to yellow and sweet several days after it is picked. We bit into our stash of peaches for several days afterwards and they were very juicy, sweet and flavorful. The intensity of the peach flavor may have been a little less than say a Georgian peach at its peak, but these specimens were still some of the finest peaches we have eaten in a while!
At $1.99 a pound, they were pricey, some 30-50% more than the cold hard “imported” peaches in the nearby groceries, but I would pay the difference any day to sink my teeth into freshly picked, ripe on the tree peaches! YUM.