Of all our crops, peaches are the most anticipated – both by us and our customers. It seems everybody loves peaches!
Peaches are also the most misunderstood crop we grow.
So here are a few random & educational peach facts … (many as a response to questions we get at the farmers’ markets)
- Peach season here in Niagara begins at the end of July or in early August, and finishes around the middle of September – depending on the weather.
- On our farm we grow 25 varieties of peaches. Each variety ripens at a different time, making for a longer peach season.
- We pick a peach tree 3-5 times, usually every 2 or 3 days, choosing only the ripe, mature fruit each time. A ripe peach will have a yellow background, not green. It will still be firm but not hard. While a soft peach will be the ripest & sweetest, it will not stand up to picking, packing & shipping to market.
- A peach will continue to ripen & will soften if left at room temperature. It should only take a day or 2.
- Ripe peaches can be stored in the fridge without affecting the flavour.
- Each variety of peach has a name. It comes with this name – we don’t name it! The name often indicates the origin of that variety. Peaches that were bred at the government-run agricultural research station at Vineland have names beginning with “V” such as Vivid, VeeBlush, Vinegold. Names beginning with “H” were developed at the Harrow Research Station (Harrow Diamond, Harrow Dawn, Harbrite… ). New Haven, Michigan is the home of Redhaven, Sunhaven & all the other “haven” peaches. Lately, new peach varieties come from private breeding programs in Michigan including the “star” series of peaches (Starfire, Blushingstar, Coralstar …).
- Redhaven is the most widely known variety of peach. This does not mean it is the best, or tastes the best, or even looks the best. To reject a peach simply because it is not a Redhaven means you are missing out on an abundance of good peaches.
- “Freestone” is not a variety of peach. Freestone means that the flesh of the peach is not tightly attached to the pit or stone. “Clingstone” means that the flesh is tight to the pit. To reject a peach because it is not freestone means that you are missing out on an abundance of good peaches. Sure it is a bit more work to cut or chew around the pit – but it’s worth it! Most of the earlier peaches are clingstone. Peaches ripening from mid-August on are mostly freestone.
- Most peaches grown in Ontario are for eating fresh, not for canning or processing. Except for a few small peach processors, there is no canning industry left in the province. The last canner shut it’s doors in 2008 sending production overseas. Any canned peaches on our supermarket shelves now come from other countries. Babygolds & other similar clingstone varieties that were grown for the canning market have now been mostly removed and replaced with other kinds of peaches (or grapes).
- Our peaches are sprayed with pesticides – fungicides for rot & disease, and insecticides for insects & bugs. We use both organic & chemical sprays. The weather is the main determining factor in how often & what kinds of pesticides we use. Orchards are monitored for insects & diseases and sprayed only as necessary. (Organic fruit is also sprayed – but with only organic pesticides. Growing peaches without any pesticides in our humid climate is not possible!)
- Peaches can be canned, frozen, made into jam, and used in baking (think peach pie, peach tarts, peach cake…), smoothies & milkshakes, ice cream … and of course eaten fresh!
- No matter how you use them – Peaches taste great!
What’s in the box?
Peaches, kale, sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers.
- Peaches continue to increase – in flavour & quality & quantity. Enjoy!
- The kale in your share this week is called black kale or dinosaur kale. It has smooth, dark leaves, and excellent flavour. We often eat it raw in salads, but it’s great in smoothies, soups & stews as well.
- All of our many kinds of sweet peppers continue to ripen. Choose from purple, yellow, green or red. Still to come are orange, brown & different shapes of red.
- We’re probably at the height of out tomato season now. Your box will include some lovely, big beefsteaks along with a basket of various coloured cherry tomatoes.
- We are getting lots of positive comments on the cucumbers & onions. While the cucumber patch is already looking tired & dying back, there are still many weeks of onions remaining.
Reminder – Please return all containers so we can use them again!