Sustainable peaches!

It’s peach season!! Usually we get our peaches from the wonderful Salatin’s Orchard, which, like most commercial orchards in this region, must spray in order to get enough blemish-free fruit to sell to consumers who expect all fruit to look like the shiny stuff in the grocery store (and to ensure yields).  So the peaches and apples we offer in the CSA are the only produce we provide all year that has been sprayed with synthetic pesticides.  But THIS year, Nathan Romans had enough peaches from his trees to offer us all a few of his!  We’ve seen the Romans’s peach trees in person.  They hang so heavy with fruit that the branches bend down.  But I don’t think they’ve ever actually gotten enough peaches for our whole CSA!  This is an exciting development.

These peaches will likely have some blemishes. It is HARD to grow organic peaches and apples in this region without some sort of blight or bug making their mark on the fruit.  But if the flesh is plump, firm (but also soft enough to indicate ripeness), and not slimy or squishy or discolored, and if it has a good aroma, then be sure not to judge these by their covers.  As you pick out your first juicy peach, DON’T squeeze these to check for ripeness.  They will bruise.  Just gently let your whole hand close over the peach, like you’re shaking hands, and see if you feel a little give.  Note also that even though these peaches are grown without synthetic chemicals, there’s a good chance they’re sprayed with an organic pesticide, so you’ll still want to rinse these well before eating (but, as with all produce, don’t wash until you’re ready to eat).  Look for more storage and prep ideas for peaches below the list!

Store these in a bowl on your kitchen counter if you plan to eat them within a couple days.  Otherwise, go ahead and put them in the fridge.  They will lose a little flavor and texture in there, but just like with tomatoes, a slightly-less-than-spectacular peach is better than a rotten peach.  In this weather, those of you in poorly-sealed houses like mine will want to watch the peaches on your counter closely.  They mold and soften quickly in this climate.  Don’t wash these until you are ready to eat them, but do rinse them well under running water before eating.  Then feel free to cut off and discard any areas with holes or significant blemishes.  I really don’t know much about cooking or baking with peaches because I love them so much as-is, but I think it’s probably safe to say that we won’t get enough for a whole peach cobbler or anything like that, anyway.  So enjoy these as they are, in all their glory, or slice them up and put them in a fruit water or sangria, or serve them sliced over ice cream.  I would like to try grilling peaches one day, because I’ve heard it’s amazing, but I don’t have a good recipe to share.  If you do, let’s hear it!