Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Faint Rumbling in the Distance

Yes, that sound you hear is the first of the Great Peaches of 2008 rolling towards a farmers' market near you. Or maybe it was the stampede of otherwise-reasonable people shoving each other aside to get at them. Last Saturday, Jones brought several dozen boxes of Derby peaches to the MFM. (A reminder to all readers: start posting those peach recipes now!) You could just feel the pent-up desire as word spread that they were there; the movement toward the north end of the market was almost unconscious. Must. Have. Peaches.

Of course, I've already written about last year's traumatic frost. No need to dwell on that! Nor on the near-miss we experienced this spring. But it hardly seems real that we already have mature stonefruit at the end of May. Up north, where I hail from, we don't get scratch (except strawberries) till at least June. My trees up at Jones won't bear till later--my earliest, the Harrow Beauties, in July. But the arrival of the Derbies sent me into a bit of a panic, so on Memorial Day, up to Jones I dashed.

My friends the Harpers and the Iveses came along with their kids. Little Anna and my son Gus collected baby peaches. They plan to found a museum on our front stoop.

Gus wandered into a fairyland zone of the orchard, where my heirloom Elberta tree is.

The last time we were up there, the peaches were tiny and the difference between the frost-stunted fruits and their healthy brethren was negligible. Now the runts stand out. The rains and heat have also encouraged the vetch and the leaves and the grasses; the place glowed green against a heavy sky. On this sultry day, the whole place felt enchanted.

We even found a peach-troll.

After we visited my trees, we went over to pick some more strawberries. Not that I needed any; I'd bought 4 quarts at the MFM on Saturday. But it's getting so that I feel ill at ease if I don't have to rearrange the condiments in the fridge to make room for berries. By the time we got over there, piled-up clouds were tumbling in and spattering us occasionally with big cooling drops. Just as we filled our buckets, thunder growled us off the field and we took refuge in the lunchroom adjacent to the Jones farmstand, just in time. As rain hammered on the tin roof, we reveled in pimento-cheese sandwiches, tender white beans and cornbread, and lemonade.

It was a perfect Memorial Day.


  1. The peach troll: hilarious!

    The rearranging condiments to accommodate the farmers' market haul: I can TOTALLY relate.

    But pimento-cheese sandwiches? I think I'm missing something...

  2. get out your camera. i need a tutorial on how to peel and slice peaches. i am killing these poor things (making my first cobbler of the season right now).

  3. Great idea! Maybe I can recruit you to come with a video camera and we can shoot a tutorial. Let me know if you're up for it. No joke.

    Meanwhile, bear in mind that the peaches you've got, if they're from Jones, are cling, and therefore a real pain to peel. When the freestones start coming in, your life will improve. As for peeling them, bring a big pot of water to boil and prep a bowl of ice water. Drop peaches 2-3 at a time into the boiling water and let 'em sit a minute. Then plunge them into the cold water. Once they're cool, the skins will slip right off.

    How's the cobbler? Do you have a favorite recipe? If so, post it!

    And Cheryl, as a coast-dweller you don't know from pimento cheese. It's definitely not health food, but sometimes really hits the spot. I'll look for a good recipe and maybe do a post on it.

  4. The peaches around here don't ripen until August, I think, forget June. I hope I don't start dreaming about the Peach Troll. Love your pics, it does look like a fairyland. Have fun at reunion!