Picking Peaches

Today was the final blackberry pick. There was just a handful left to pick. Just enough to pop into my mouth as I looked over the blackberry vines to bid them farewell for the season. I remember as a child picking native blackberries out in the woods. I remember my mom making blackberry pie. It tasted sweet and so good. After picking the last bit of berries I headed over to the garden, as I walked through the garden something hit me on my head. I searched to see what it was. It was a peach. It is now peach season!
With blackberries you can tell they are ripe by their color. When they are a dark black glossy color I know they are sweet and ready. With peaches it is different. I can tell they are ready not by their color but more by how they feel. It is like deciding if an avocado is ready to eat. When I touch an avocado and give it a slight squeeze, if it is hard it is not ready to eat on the other hand if it has a slight give to it when I squeeze it then it is ripe to eat. Since I want my fruit to ripe on the plant I use this touching method to decide when to pick the peaches. Also I can tell if peaches are ripe by slightly tugging on them. If they break away from the stem holding them to the tree then it is ready.
I started to touch the peaches and I could tell some of them had a give when I touch them indicating they were ripe. I am a bit disappointed with their size. They seem awful small compared to the last few years. Maybe they are small because of last year’s drought. I hate to say it, but I think we are going to have another hot dry summer. It looks that way. It is probably 95 degrees today as I’m in my garden!
Anyway, it is peach picking season! To pick peaches I just wear something cool, which is usually shorts and a t-shirt. But I always wear my rubber boots. It protects my feet because on a farm I never know what I can be stepping in or next to. I also will need a ladder and a big basket. With this year’s peaches I would love to make peach cobbler and if I had enough peaches some peach wine!
With peaches I have to be careful when I pick them. What I mean is that I have to be vigilant during peach season. One day I will pick some peaches thinking I got all the ripe ones. I will skip a day and the next day when I check on them and it will seem like they all are ripe. Another thing about peaches is that they will start falling from the tree and if I am not checking the ground near the peaches vigilantly then as soon as they fall, insects and birds will attack the peach. What I do with the fallen peaches that have been picked at by birds or insects is feed them to my pigs.
Once I pick the daily peaches for that day I do not wash them I only make sure that there are no insects or obvious dirt on them, which there are usually not. I put them in a plastic retail bag that you get when you take home your purchased items in. I tie up the top so that the peaches do not accidently roll out. I then place them in the refrigerator until I have enough to use in a recipe or if someone wants to eat a fresh peach then they get it from the bag and then at that point they wash it before eating.


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