Monday, July 2, 2012
Peach season arrived early, passed quickly, and left me loaded with a bevy of peach goodies. Despite another record hailstorm, which left a bushel of peaches stranded on the ground just a few weeks short of harvest, my two front-yard peach trees (J.H. Hale and Hale Haven) yielded an impressive bounty - this year, ridiculously pest-free. I ended up with 12 pints of dehydrated peach chips, which my son likes approximately as well as candy, a batch of jam, and five pints of peach ice cream topping.
This year, we had quite a few visitors to our peach trees, from the small furry long-tailed variety, to the flying, cawing feathered kind, to door-knocking strangers asking to buy peaches. "Pshaw, take a handful," I say - to the humans. The wee beasties never bother to ask.
I always seem to forget the true extent of the work involved in thinning, harvesting, and processing peaches, which requires sporadic work in the spring and then an intense burst of activity in (usually) July. The harvesting and processing takes about two weeks, but the peach taste lingers on in preserved goods for nearly a year. In truth, peaches have reliably been my best crop for the last three years.
Luckily my friends accept "I'm sorry, it's peach season," as a sufficient reason for not participating in activities. This may be because they know they will soon be invited to pick a bucketful of some of the best-tasting, freshest, pesticide-free peaches in the county, which in my humble but not un-biased opinion make store-bought peaches taste like softballs and which place Farmer's Market offerings in the distinctly distant, albeit still tasty, second place.