Day Seven ~ Operation Peach

We have peaches! There are two trees in the garden plot that my family shares on East Main Street. They never bore fruit until last spring, when my brother Ben pruned them in a last ditch effort to get something out of them - they shade the garden plot, and it seemed better to cut them down if they weren't going to bear fruit. Lo and behold, the pruning was just what they needed and they produced beautifully both last year and this year.

Last September, the peach crop turned into a bit of a tragedy. We waited and waited for them to be perfectly ripe before we picked them..... then, when Erica and Ben finally went out to pick, they realized that all of the peaches were gone. The trees had been picked bare by someone, we know not who. All of our visions of canned peaches and peach jam and frozen peaches were dashed.

You can see how it happened - the trees are on the edge of the garden plot closest to the road. The luscious bright fruits are very noticeable to the many bikers who go by, and I can see how someone could think that perhaps we didn't care, or we didn't have full rights to them..... we did.

So, this year we got wise. I dropped by Mom's after work to pick up some extra green beans from the garden that she had picked. We discussed the peaches. They are earlier this year than last - no surprise with the hot weather we've had. They aren't quite perfectly ripe, but they are damn close. We feared that if we waited until next weekend, they would all disappear like last year.

So, we called Erica, and Dave and Meg and we had an impromptu peach picking event. We left the smallest, hardest fruits, but we took the majority of them - and there were a lot, as you can see in the picture at the beginning of this post.

We gave a bag to one of the neighbors, and we reserved some for a nice person who left a note by the trees asking if she could pick some. Dave took a 25lb box, and Erica took about 15lb in a bag. The rest went home with me.

Since these peaches aren't quite ripe yet, we (thankfully), don't have to deal with them this weekend. I'm storing them in my garage, and Mom and I plan to get together next weekend to process them. It will be interesting since because of the eat local challenge I can't do refined sugar. We're thinking of canning them with a honey syrup.... yum!

Oh, and in case you're wondering what I ate today.... I ate breakfast before going into work early at 5am: yogurt with peaches (the unripe ones from the branch that broke off the tree last weekend), hickory nuts, and maple syrup. Lunch was at work and was more of a snack: Two apples, a hunk of Bandaged Cheddar from Bleu Mont Dairy, and Sassy Cow Milk. I snacked on peaches all afternoon, had some watermelon when I got home..... and.....

Here's the delicious dinner we just ate. Hamburgers wrapped with bacon and grilled; cheesy potato wedges cooked on the grill; and coleslaw made with diced Candystripe tomato and homemade basil mayo. The mayo was made with homegrown eggs, Driftless sunflower oil, and a little tomato juice to stand in for the lemon. It turned out good, but with a weird almost bitter aftertaste that I couldn't figure out..... once I got used to it it was fine - the creamy texture was perfect! I'll have to experiment more with homemade mayo. I don't feel like I have it totally figured out yet.

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  1. Megan, do you make brine pickles (lacto-fermented cucumber pickles) at home? Or any other kind of similar ferment? We've been having good luck using pickle brine instead of vinegar, and I'd bet that would make a really nice mayonnaise. In fact, I'll have to try it myself. I'll let you know!

  2. What a beautiful peach harvest! I admire your localvore dedication.

    I made your Marina di Chioggia gnocchi recipe today. It's not easy to make those little gnocchis look beautiful! I was hopelessly challenged with the log rolling method so I decided to pinch pieces of the dough and roll them in my flour coated hands. It took a long time to shape the little gnocchis but they were soooo good! Next I'm going to make your eggplant parmesean recipe.

    Your blog is great!

  3. Hi Bekah, I do actually have brined pickles that I made earlier in the summer. I've been avoiding them because there are some non-local spices (mustard seed and celery seed) in there. That might be a little too picky though.... I'll have to try it.

  4. Thanks Jane! I'm glad you enjoyed the Marina di Chioggia gnocchi. It is really labor intensive - that's why I usually make a big batch and freeze it.

  5. Hi there - enjoy reading your posts. I linked to the one about the yogurt cultures in a toothpaste tube! Hope that's ok.

    Where do you get hickory nuts? And where did you get the popcorn? Thanks!

  6. Thanks S.B.! Of course it's fine to link! The hickory nuts are from Ray's Hickory Nuts :http://www.rayshickorynuts.com/. They're at the Dane County Farmer's Market on Saturdays, or you can mail order. The popcorn is also from the Dane County Farmer's Market.


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