Eat a peach! This is something to add to your summer bucket list . . .
Let’s talk about the best peaches. The kind that you bite into and juice runs down your chin. Do you remember the last time you ate a peach like this?!!
Eating sweet, juicy peaches evokes happy feelings. While savoring the sweet fruit, take in your surroundings, because they will stay with you for a lifetime. With so many items on our summer bucket list, the simple act of eating a sweet, juicy peach could well be one that is cherished for a lifetime!
Here’s what you need:
a little time on Saturday morning to shop at a local farmers market
Sweet, juicy peaches must be picked when they are fully ripe. Local farmers have the advantage of bringing fully ripe, sweet, juicy peaches directly to consumers!
Check out these beautiful Winona Orchards’ peaches ready for market! What could be sweeter?!!A little background on big, commercial peach orchards . . . these days, many peach orchards grow for quantity and how well the peaches ship, not the flavor. The result is tasteless, styrofoam-texture peaches, because the sugar content is never fully developed. To withstand long shipping and storage times involved in getting the peaches to supermarkets, growers say the peaches have to be picked “firm”, meaning underripe. Once picked, the fruit stops making sugar and the flavor process stops. Peaches soften, but the flavor won’t improve. Peaches are washed, waxed, and shipped to supermarkets. On display, they are beautiful and tempting to consumers. However, usually they are disappointed by the dry, mealy texture and lack of flavor.
On a happy note, you can find all the fully ripe, sweet, juicy peaches your heart desires! Head on over to your local farmers market or roadside produce stand. Ask a couple of questions, touch, smell and taste the peaches.
Tips for buying sweet, juicy peaches:
Ask the farmer the variety of peaches? If they grew them, they will know the answer!
Ask the farmer how many chill hours they had? If they grew them, they will answer “somewhere between 500 to 900”.
Touch the peach. Does it feel fuzzy or smooth? Naturally, peaches have a fuzzy texture, if it not, then the peach was washed and waxed for shipping. And it was picked before it was ripe.
Very gently squeeze the peach, not too hard or it will bruise, it should give a little.
Smell the peach. It should have a sweet, fruity fragrance.
Check-out the boxes. If you are in Texas, the peaches should be in a Texas peach box.
Clingstone verses freestone? The clingstone peaches are harvested in May, the beginning of the peach season. The pit is well-attached to the pit and does not easily fall out. As the season continues, the semi-freestone peaches are harvested. The semi-freestone peach pit is a little easier to remove form the flesh. By August, late in the season, the freestone peaches are harvested. When cut in half, the freestone peach pit will fall right out of the peach. When grown and harvested by a local farmer, clingstone, semi-freestone, or freestone are all sweet and juicy!
Tips for storing your sweet, juicy peaches:
The unwashed peaches may be store on the counter for a couple of days, in a single-layer with plenty of space around each peach to allow proper air circulation.
The unwashed peaches may be store on the counter, may be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days without loss of quality or taste. The cool temperature in the refrigerator slows down the ripening process.
Although it is tempting, don’t store your beautiful peaches on the counter, in a basket! The peaches on the bottom will bruise easily.
Looking for something to add to your summer bucket list? Read “Eat A Peach”!
The sweetest peaches in Texas are grown at Winona Orchards. Nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of east Texas, the orchard maintains over 2,000 peach trees in 21 varieties along with blueberry bushes and blackberry bushes.When John Sattler retired from the healthcare industry, he and his wife, Anita bought an east Texas farm. Taking a leap of faith, John planted some peach trees and waited patiently for four years until the first crop was harvested. In 2010, Winona Orchards’ first commercial peach crop hit the market. Since then, Winona Orchards’ peach trees have continued to thrive with annual pruning and care. The trees are pruned like upside down umbrellas to get the most sunshine to the fruit. The trees are thinned so the fruit can grow to full size.In December, Hunter Sattler, John’s son is graduating from Texas A&M with a degree Ag Econ and focus on finance and real estate. He is a member of the Texas A&M Corps. Growing up around a family-owned business, Hunter knows first hand what it takes to manage the orchard. During his college breaks, he drives trailers full of fruit to farmers markets and works around the orchard. After gaining some work experience, its likely Hunter will combine his life-experience with his Texas A&M education and join the family-owned orchard.At first glance, operating a peach farm appears as laid back as the rolling hills of east Texas. Behind-the-scenes, Mother Nature plays a big role in the crop’s productivity. Chill hours, a certain number of winter hours(between 32º to 45º) recorded by Texas A & M, are required for the peach tress to rest and produce fruit the following year. 900 is the average number of chill hours for peach varieties. A freeze too late in the season can result in the loss of a partial or a whole peach crop. After passing the chill hours’ test and missing a late freeze, a hailstorm can wipe out a crop of peaches.
All of this to say that we, the consumers, are lucky to enjoy sweet, juicy peaches!