Nothing could be finer than Carolina peaches
Published 12:02 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Juicy, sweet, somewhat tart, a little fuzzy, but oh, so good. These are just a few characteristics describing one of my favorite fruits, the peach.
July is peach season. Peaches can be harvested late May into September, but if you want the best peaches, you need to buy, pick or harvest some of them in July. Practically all of the best varieties are harvested in July, and that is when the peaches have the best flavor.
When working with students, I love asking the question, “What is your favorite peach variety?” Most of them cannot tell me the variety that they prefer, but they know that they love them. For me, my favorite varieties are Contender and Winblo. They are juicy, yellow peaches that are great for canning or freezing, with little browning, and they have the best flavor.
Contender is usually a sure crop for growers and thank goodness, because to me, they have the quintessential peach flavor. If you like a yellow peach that is sweet, juicy and a little tart, then Contender is the one for you.
If you prefer low acid with little tartness, I recommend a white peach called China Pearl; they are highly sought after, so you need to get them quick. The Contenders and China Pearls are usually available mid- to late July, depending on the weather and season. Winblo’s are usually available a few weeks before Contender.
Luckily for Rowan County, we have a few peach growers in the county that are producing these beauties. Just this past week, I stopped in at Huffman’s Peaches to see how his orchard faired this year and surprisingly, he is going to have a very nice crop of peaches.
Many of the growers on the East Coast lost many of their varieties this year to the cold snap during bloom, so we are very blessed to have access to delicious local peaches.
Two Pigs Farm and Correll Farms are also selling local peaches at Salisbury Farmers’ Market. This year, Two Pigs Farm is trying a new deal with their peaches in a Meal Deal Package. How would you like to try Roasted Chicken with Spiced Peaches? Their meal package will come with everything you need (minus salt and pepper), which will include the chicken, peaches, thyme, garlic, onions and chili pepper.
After visiting with some of the growers, I have learned that Contenders are starting to be harvested, so you can best believe where I will be.
For more information on the Salisbury Farmers’ Market, visit www.salisburyfarmersmarket.com or visit 115 S. Jackson St., Salisbury.
If you would like to visit Huffman’s Peaches, the farm stand is located at 4825 Goodman Lake Road, Salisbury.
If you would like more information on growing peaches or peach varieties, please call your local Cooperative Extension Agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.