It’s August, and you know what that means! It’s time to stock up on those delectable, mouth-watering fuzzy balls of goodness. Most local orchards offer U-Pick peaches if you like to pick your own, or you can take the easy way out and buy a basket or two in their farm store. (That’s what I do!)
Peaches are excellent canned or frozen for winter baking so make sure to ask your local orchard if they offer bushels of seconds — these are peaches that aren’t pretty enough to sell at full price but they are still perfectly fine for preserving.
Here are some places in Chester County that are now selling local peaches:
Farmer’s Daughter, Spring City
Farmers’ Market at Great Valley, Malvern
Highland Orchards, West Chester
Phoenixville Farmers’ Market, Phoenixville
Vollmecke Orchards, Coatsville
West Chester Grower’s Market, West Chester
My kids have been eating them right off the tree like they’re candy, but peaches are also great in pies and cobblers and, my kids’ favorite, peach pake.
How to tell if a peach is ripe (compliments of Highland Orchard’s monthly newsletter):
As a peach ripens, the part facing the sun gets a reddish blush and the part not exposed to the sun (ground color) turns from green to yellow or to white for a white peach. Avoid very firm or hard peaches with a distinctly green background color. They are probably immature and won’t ripen properly if picked.
How to pick a peach (compliments of Highland Orchard’s monthly newsletter):
A peach is softer than an apple, so it is important to use the palm of your hand rather than the fingertips. This allows you to be more gentle and less likely to cause bruising. Grab the peach firmly and pull it straight off the branch. If they don’t pull off easily, leave on the tree to ripen.
Jo-Lynne is the founder of Eat Local Philly. When she’s not seeking out new sources for local foods, she is probably elbow-deep in bread dough or musing on weighty topics such as fashion and reality TV on her personal blog, Musings of a Housewife. You can also find her beautifying the blogosphere at DCR Design.