PEACH SEASON BEGINS not with a bang or a whimper, but with the dressing-room rustlings of our summer stars. While a bunch of peaches have stepped onto center stage—and are ready to pick!—many of the cast are still backstage preening.
The eggplants of Indian Creek have seen so much time in the limelight; they coach the peaches through fashion crises and pre-show jitters.
A solitary moment of reflection, in a greenroom cranking the Rolling Stone Fruits, encourages each nervous peach to say, “Let’s do this thing.”
HOW TO PICK A PEACH.
It is not always easy to pick a peach, because there is variation across varieties, and even within a single tree. A green, grassy hue says, “Come back later.”
Some old pros will tell you, Look for a deep gold in the shoulder of the peach, where the stem attaches and redness creeps in. Maybe this one is red-dy?
Well, on the underside of that very specimen, you see plenty of grassy green. Definitely not ready for prime time. Good idea to look at all sides.
This batch looks ready to eat! Gorgeous and tempting, but your instinct is to make one more check, to see if it has a little “give.” So you squeeze the fruit, right?
DUDE! DON’T SQUEEZE THE FARMIN’! Peaches are delicate, which is what makes them wonderful. Even slight pressure of a human paw can bruise the fruit, even if the bruise doesn’t show til a day later—and that will prevent someone else from picking it. Once you grab a peach, take it home. The natural starches will convert to sugars after you take it off the tree. A day or two in a serving bowl—like a Renaissance still life—and each chosen peach will be snackable.
AND DON’T BE SO MEAN! Please do not bite a peach and throw it on the ground. That is the surest way to find out that a farmer’s mouth ain’t no prayer book. A lot of work goes into raising a peach. If you pick it, take it home. It will sweeten off the vine. As the old saying goes, “Everybody cries when peach season is over,” so let’s make the best of it. Tune into Facebook or ring the stand for daily updates on picking status. Peaches are popular; frequent visitors get the goodies.
WHERE DO I FIND THE PEACH ORCHARD?
The great thing about peach season: It is the first time of the year when our signs take on that special quality of being accurate. Follow the sign that says, “Orchard.”
Disregard the sign for Row 4. It is a trick. It moves every time it gets run over. Kick it down the road if you want to feel the thrill of elected office.
Best thing to do is report to the farm stand before your adventure. The crew will direct you to the ripest rows—and they’ll hand you our brand new booklet.
It is full of maps to guide you around the farm, as well as tips on picking and a primer on the K-9 department. Take a copy home with you.
The main farm map will do nothing if not confuse you more than the road signs alone. Now you have even more ways to get lost.
Use the Dwarf Orchard map as follows: Ask the stand worker to circle which varieties are ready to pick. There are over 60 types, all ripening at different times.
The first trees to produce pickable apples? The Pristines at the west end of Row 7. They are ready right now! Please pick these beauties ASAP.
The Dwarf Orchard rows are all numbered, but you have to multiply the numbers by a factor of 10. This is not row 0.7, but rather row 7.0.
WARMING GLOBAL RELATIONS.
Originating in Russia, and prized there ever since, the Yellow Transparent apple could play a pivotal role in averting a second Cold War.
Things haven’t been this chilly since today’s soccer moms were in kindercare. So we are making a contribution to global warming—thawing out relations with Russia.
We are making apple butter. It is a show of solidarity. An homage to Old-World love of fresh food and homemade things—jams, jellies, preserves, and conserves.
Yellow Transparent apples, with their supreme sauce-ability, just stewing away in a pot. Stewing and stirring—and making the place smell great.
We only made a few jars for farmers’ dessert. But you can get Yellow Transparents at the stand now for a short time. We’ve picked them and packed them for you.
CORNUCOPIA TIME. BIG TIME.
The farm stand is just plain popping. Leave the hallucinogenics at home. Viewing the cornucopia in an altered state could cause your brain to runneth over.
Crops come and go. Crops ebb and flow. We can’t give many guarantees, so call ahead if you are looking for something specific. Or stop by and surprise yourself.
We get surprises every day. Yesterday’s fun involved donning a funny white suit, borrowed from our neighborhood bee guy, who of course didn’t wear a suit at all!
And today we are out counting 30,000 trees. Surprise, surprise—our counts are off by 2. Let’s do it all over again!
Bzzzz. Well, that’s the farm buzz for today. Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.