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?!!Texas PeachesA 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:

  1. Ask the farmer the variety of peaches? If they grew them, they will know the answer!
  2. Ask the farmer how many chill hours they had? If they grew them, they will answer “somewhere between 500 to 900”.
  3. 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.
  4. Very gently squeeze the peach, not too hard or it will bruise, it should give a little.
  5. Smell the peach. It should have a sweet, fruity fragrance.
  6. Check-out the boxes. If you are in Texas, the peaches should be in a Texas peach box.
  7. 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”!