One bite of a Bishops’ peach, juice dripping down your arm, and you are hooked; there is no settling for second best. Our friend Manette’s (large) family has a standing order of five baskets for anyone passing through Guilford, CT between August and mid-September. Many RI orchards have peaches, but they are never as flavorful or juicy. So we load up the car, time and again, with Bishops’ peaches and enjoy them whole, on oatmeal, as peach shortcake* or in pies. Even if the season was longer, I don’t think any of us would tire of them.
Sadly, we are eating the last sweet, juicy peaches until next year. But we are fickle, and soon will welcome the fall apples from Appleland Orchard, closer to home. Mutsu might be my favorite—crisp green apples that are not too tart, not too sweet. Come January, when the apples are starting to lose their freshness, Crisp-Aire’s arrive, perhaps even better than the September apples. (Crisp-Aire is a special storage method, keeping fresh-picked apples in a controlled environment; they emerge tasting as if just picked.) These take us into May; by then the rhubarb stalks, full of Vitamin C, have pushed out of the thawing ground. And we are off on another delicious cycle of fresh fruit in the northeast. Strawberries in June, blueberries in July, and before you know it, back to peaches.
*Peach shortcake recipe: http://maggiesfarm.net/recipes/