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Wednesday, 16 October 2019


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As to peaches, we are blessed here in florida by a ridiculously long peach season. First the local ones, then the Georgia ones and then the South Carolina ones...my favorites, all at a farmer's market just down the road.

As to bees, there is an added benefit from local honey as it helps you fight plant/pollen allergies from local plants. A true win-win.

"Could be I'm just lucky"
You certainly are. What a wonderful place where you live.

I'm about your age, Mike, and your description of the flavour of white peaches reminded me of my childhood. I was very lucky in those days and remember peaches, honey and milk. Oh the milk! Unfortunately that's all gone now. Maybe I should consider moving to the Finger Lakes when I am pensioned?

It's not just canned fruit that is flavor deprived. The so-called "fresh fruit" in the supermarkets has been generally lousy---with local exceptions---for decades.
Fully ripe yellow peaches have been unavailable in supermarkets here in Southern California for at least 40 years. Same with apricots.
The last full-flavored apricot I had was about 1969. It came from a former back yard tree in a vacant lot in L.A.

Just an observation: it appears your image of Dave on the ladder was taken from a much closer position than was the image of Dave’s bees. Can’t argue with that logic.

For me, fresh peaches are a summertime weakness. Thanks to a thriving locavore movement, our farmer's market is outstanding in the variety and quality of produce available. Unfortunately, the local peach crop was stilted because of weather. Peaches disappeared several weeks ago.

Still we have plenty of fresh-picked pears and apples, and a lone vendor was still selling green beans last Saturday.

Sorry, Mike, I know that as a non-native-speaker I'm not in the best place to do that, but may I propose you a slight sentence reformulation?
In "people should beware of being fooled by canned peaches in the supermarket", you might get rid of "canned peaches in".
(Oh, sorry for the french quotes)

I have the same feeling about real, fresh, in-season stone fruit; it's not the same thing at all as ones bought off-season at a store.

I remember Neil Gaiman saying some years ago that he had never had a strawberry until he tried one fresh from the plant; all the ones he had previously were clearly a completely different thing.

Farmers Markets with local produce have similar wonderful discoveries. And it's always nice to know the farmer and understand his/her allegiance to plant diversity and wellness. I had a bumper crop of peppers from my garden this year and it was fun trading with local farmers for other produce and local farm eggs. For many years I've been buying local honey directly from bee keepers. They can explain a lot about honey and its uniqueness to the time of year and the local flowers.

We got a peach plant from a neighbour a few years ago. This year we had our first peaches. Never had such a juicy peach. Totally ruined my shirt. But the taste made it worth it.

Dude, you're so far removed from actual, real food I thought you were going to write that cows only come in Milka violet color. Or that chocolate milk comes from brown cows and low fat from skinny white ones.

I sorely miss the days when New Jersey farmers came over to row-house Philly, to sell us their truly fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables. As they drove through our block's driveway, they would holler out what they had available, in a voice that carried all the way to the next block. Supermarket fruits and vegetables are selected for "durability." What's good for long-haul transportation is diametrically opposed to flavor and nutrition. That's why I grow my own tomatoes and greens, and patronize a local small farmer who promises his vegetables are chemical-free. (He doesn't say "organic." Having to meet organic standards would mean lowering his.)

Tomatoes have this nature too.

Canned peaches are to peaches as canned tuna is to fresh off the boat tuna. This is true of any canned "food".
Always try for fresh veges and fruit in season.

Puree enough fresh peaches for two cups, add them to two cups of plain yogurt along with a teaspoon of good vanilla, blend it and throw it into a Cuisinart ice cream maker and stand by for a treat.
If you need it sweeter add sugar but that sort of defeats the purpose of using quality peaches. It drowns out some of their flavor.

Mike, fwiw, canning your own fruit for the off-season will give you a preserved fruit flavour unlike any you’ve bought in a supermarket. In our small orchard we’ve way more pears and apples than we can eat fresh, but cored and peeled and “cold-canned” with half a bean or stick of vanilla or cinnamon reveals a flavour that’ll surprise the whole off-season.

I've mostly given up on fruit, sadly. My mother was from southern California, so she knew how to recognize a lot of kinds of fruit when it was ripe, and I got pretty good fruit at home, and even better fruit when we visited around where she grew up. It's been a lot more of a mixed bag, and I've been disappointed too often, since then.

Reminds me of the Jerry Seinfeld episode about the Macinaw peaches....

Funny you should mention that! My own "many-times great-grandfather, William Bradford, and Dave's many-times great-grandfather, Myles Standish, came across the ocean together, from England, in a leaky old merchant ship called the Mayflower. Now he and I are neighbors and friends, and frankly I think I get the better end of that deal."

The only thing is that "my" Mark Standish, though he also grows and shares his own pesticide free vegetables, is an accomplished aircraft engine and airframe specialist. For three years he had the final say on whether or not a just-refurbished commercial airliner was fit to carry passengers again. That was a while back, but just seven weeks ago he was Crew Chief for the team that took Jet Gold at the annual Reno National Championship Air Races, making them (once again) the absolute fastest airplane in that competition! He earns his living keeping BMWs and Mercedes automobiles in tip-top condition and does the same for my (cough) 17 year old Subaru.

Thanks for the tips on peaches, Mike, I can hardly wait!

Thomas Turnbull

Sadly, I've forgotten where I read or heard a perfect-looking yet flavorless fruit--typical of a certain upscale grocery store chain--described as "notional", but the adjective is so apt that I think of it every time I'm in a supermarket produce section.

Mid-October is still peach season in upstate New York? Weird. I was hoping for an article about apples. Ancient apple trees on derelict farms in Ontario have some of the best, if possibly forgotten, flavors in them.

Aah, Mike, peaches...
I'm happy for your peach, and honey, experience!
( I live in Sweden, so our (imported) varieties are probably different.)
The very tasty peaches, slightly greenish in the flesh, of my childhood are sadly gone, today's slightly yellowish ones are sweeter but have less aroma.
But, of course, a fruit picked ripe from the tree is ways more aromatic!

Try honey from heather.
- * -

Brussels sprouts - my favourite:
Melt a little butter (only enough to whet the sprouts),
Roll the sprouts in it,
Add a little salt and crushed rosemary while rolling,
Add just a little water and steam until al dente - 10-15 min depending on size.
( Or, just put them fresh in the micro oven on half power until ready - gives a very fresh taste.)

Here in the southwest we look forward to getting Palisade Peaches from western Colorado. Oh, so good! Yeah, really, Colorado.


Until you have had a Georgia-grown, yellow-orange to red varietal known as the "Elberta", you have not had the penultimate peach. You normally won't find them in the stores, because their shelf life is very short. I promise, they are the very best!

Living in major farm country it is nice to drive by a field of peas and pick a batch to eat like candy - sweet right from the vine. Neighbors grow them and we are OK to do so. How much damage can one guy do to a 600 acre field? A lot of bee keepers with hives all over the place for the crop pollination.
Fresh beans, sunflowers and corn along with wheat and soybeans and flax and such. Our own garden with berries and vegetables supplemented by what we fill out at the local Farmers Markets. Nice to get fresh food - our meat from neighbors who ranch and butcher their own. Then, the moose, elk, deer, ducks and geese. Not bad at all.
Peaches, cherrie and Avocados? Have to have that stuff brought in as our area along the Canadian border it just doesn't grow.

I prefer lemons to honey. Here's a green lemon.

Someday soon it will be yellow. And very sour— great with Matcha green tea or baked fish.

Both shot in someones backyard. The first with an iPhone SE, and the second with an iPhone Xs.
Both cropped in Photos, then processed with Pixelmator Pro.

For years I thought I hated pineapple, but the only pineapple I'd ever eaten was on banana splits, and I could never figure out why they bothered with the canned pineapple goo when they could have given more chocolate syrup. Anyway, one day when I was in my 20s I had fresh pineapple. Oh wow.

I love peaches, but I'm allergic. I can't tell you how much this upsets me.

I'm 66 and have never gone more than a day or two without multiple fresh fruit, most often cantaloupe and apples. I know people who never eat fresh fruit, boggles my mind.

Peach pie with crumb topping is an August favorite in our household, some years even shared with neighbors. This morning, though, I had a Braeburn apple from a 4 in 1 tree (4 different varieties grafted on one root stock) I planted a few years ago. There was a freshness, complexity, and just a touch of sweetness to the taste, miles away from anything purchased in the supermarket or health food store. So I know whereof you speak.

I was expecting an exegesis on the album of the same name by the Allman Brothers Band.

[Never heard it, believe it or not! Although I've probably heard songs from it on the radio. --Mike]

Good story, glad you are enjoying fresh and natural produce. Here in Portugal, my favourite honey is sold in the farmers market of Vila Nova de Milfontes, in the Alentejo coast. It is a "bitter honey" coming from the Arbutus tree. Which reminds me, the Arbutus fruit (medronho in Portuguese) is about be in season!

I hope you get your eggs from the chickens Chester is protecting. There is no comparison between supermarket eggs and real free range ones. I’m an ex-beekeeper, duck ex-keeper and chicken ex-keeper, can’t beat home-grown!
As a child we never had ‘bought’ fruit except bananas since we had apples, pears, plums, cherries in the not so very large garden. Apples (Cox’s Orange Pippin’s) were stored through the winter wrapped in newspaper in the loft (roof space) and though they got softer the flavour intensified.

[Dave's chickens are pampered indeed. They have a coop and an outdoor pen and Dave goes to great lengths to feed them extremely well. I don't eat eggs any more but I used to get eggs from Dave and you're right, they were very good. --Mike]

Hi Mike,
From the photos I've seen of your house, it looks like you have enough space to plant one or two of those peach saplings yourself. But then, I know nothing about maintaining trees or saplings. Still, just wondering.

Glad to see you enjoying some good fruit. :-)


[I'm not sure I have time to grow my own trees just to eat peaches! --Mike]

Reminds me the album by Allman Brothers Band :-)

I grew up in NYC and lived in the NY suburbs until two years ago when we moved to NW Connecticut. This area, although only 80 miles from NYC is surprisingly rural with many small farms - dairy and vegetable - and a surprising variety of fresh produce. I have become addicted to all of the fresh fruit that is grown locally after being indifferent to same for many (I'm 77) years. It's nice to make new discoveries, no matter how small, at my age

Atrue story on this theme:
Like Mike, I was never into peaches, nectarines, or similar fruit. A few years ago, while visiting Seattle, I went to the incredible Pike Place Public Market which has vendors with legendary displays of fresh fruit and vegetables from Eastern Washington. There was a vendor handing out samples of fresh nectarines the size of softballs. A truly beautiful young businesswoman in her 30's bought a nectarine and took a large bite out of it while standing there. The juice from the nectarine overflowed her mouth, ran down her chin, and dripped onto her blouse. Then she started moaning, "Oh my GOD! Oh my GOD!! This is sooooo incredible!!"

So, of course, I said......wait for it.....wait for it...."I'll have what she's having"!! 😜

In my fifties, I tried growing fruit trees in our Long Island backyard. I bought a peach and a plum tree from a finger lakes nursery. I worked hard, I thought, at maintaining them. I sprayed and fertilized, but never got a peach. Squirrels and birds always got there first. We’re I smart, I would have got netting.
But I did succeed at tomatoes, for the most part.
I love string beans, tried to find the French cut, but failed. And those I did grow we’re plentiful but not very good, growing large lumpy, and tough.
This year, our neighbor gave us beans from her backyard, an Asian variety much like the French cut that I love, only quite long, up to seven to eight inches. She also instructed us to cook them for two minutes, then plunge them into cold water. They were delicious! It’s nice to have neighbors who know what they’re doing.

We grow heirloom tomatoes (my wife is the tomato mistress) a bunch of herbs and a fair amount of garlic. (Two years ago I grew about 1000 garlic sets on a friend’s farm ... I’ve since scaled back due to aging body.) Heirloom tomatoes make store bought tomatoes seem like ... canned, syrupy peaches. OK, not the flavour profile, but the difference. And even better, there seems to be no end of heirloom varieties. I just discovered a new one this Summer, grown by my good friend Vicki Emlaw of Vicki’s Veggies (https://vickisveggies.weebly.com/) in Prince Edward County, Ontario, that blew my mind.

And now I want to plant some peach trees.

I can't believe that you've missed out for so long! Please do yourself a favour, and try apricots, nectarines, all the varieties of plums that you can get your hands on, and of course cherries. Summer fruit is some of the best eating that you'll ever have. There's nothing like it!

Looks like I'm late to the peach party, but my grandmothers farm in Virginia had many peach trees, and grabbing them off the tree (or the ones that had just dropped to the ground) were delicious. I'd eat several in one sitting.

And Mike, you have these amazing black raspberries in your neck of the woods (literally)---I can't remember what they're called, but it's completely worth finding a nice large patch and bringing a bucket to pick. I've had many fresh (wild) berries across the country, and these are my favorites (Virginia huckleberries and New England wild blueberries come in second).

Good eating! (BTW, my Hawaiian friends tell me I've never had a pineapple...).

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