Peaches now and later

July 27, 2010 at 7:47 pm 1 comment

By Carol Peppe Hewitt

The other day I picked two buckets of peaches, many still partially green, from our tree.

Now I stand at the kitchen sink, picking out the ripest ones and quartering them. The worms have gotten there first, so by the time I gently scrape out and cut around the brown mush they have created, and peel off the skins, I have only small chunks. They are not that big to start with, these white peaches, and so it takes 10 or 12 peaches to get even two cups of small pieces, enough for a snack bag. I dump them in, press it flat, getting out all the air, and slip it into the freezer.

And start again. Because they taste delicious, and they are mine. I know for a fact that they have never been sprayed with a noxious pesticide and their fertilizer is our compost and leaves from the yard. They’re like family.

As I work I try negotiating with the worms. How about next year we work out a deal, I suggest? You guys get all the peaches on the east side of the tree and I’ll take the west (not foolish enough to vie for the south side that gets more sun.) But they’re not very cooperative, nor communicative.

But that’s okay. About ever 7th or 8th peach I get a pleasant surprise. No worms! I got to this one before they did! And the bag fills more quickly.
It takes a while, but in the dead of winter, when there is nothing but fruit from faraway places in the stores, fruit that flew thousand of miles just to get here, I will be able to pop a few chunks of North Carolina peaches into my breakfast cereal. And it will make my day. Hopefully I will also get enough to make some peach muffins for the August Kiln Opening here at the pottery.

I saw a wonderful bumper sticker yesterday. “Local Foods, Thousands of miles fresher” (from AppalachianGrown.com). And thousands of miles more sane. Here in Chatham County we can grow food all year long. And with the help of a freezer, or some canning equipment, and our farmer’s markets, we can eat local fruits and vegetables most every day.

Which takes me back to these peaches, and the way they connect me to the land we live on. We planted this tree many years ago and I remember picking peaches with Emma and Meg when they were little, and making peach cobblers at Christmas.
If you don’t have your own tree, treat yourself to a basket of local peaches at the Chatham Marketplace, or your local farmer’s market. You may not find any worms to talk to, but you can skin and slice and find your way into a few bags for the freezer.

Hopefully in a few months you will pull one out and smile. And I’d like to think, those local Carolina peaches will make your day too.

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Entry filed under: Carol Peppe Hewitt, Commentary, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Food. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mandie  |  August 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I’m so glad I found you! I have some white peaches I was trying to identify, and when I read your post, I noticed a familiar bumper sticker! I’ve had that sticker for several years, and I like to go to the ASAP training every year at Warren Wilson college in Swannannoa. I have a great idea for using the peaches now, and since I looked up specific material from the Ag Ext office, I hope to have large white peaches next year, instead of bazillions of tiny white peaches!

    Reply

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