As a person who regularly and loudly tells the Internet what she’s eating (see, e.g., here, here, and here), I am frequently asked what my favorite food is. The answer is too easy. While there are countless things I love to put in my face, my ultimate, very best, if-I-could-only-have-one-food-I’d-pick-this-one-every-time is peaches. Fresh ones, specifically. In-season and locally grown peaches, more specifically.
When folks think of fresh peach bounty, they probably don’t think of Utah. Even before Justin Bieber dropped 2021’s fruity summer banger, Georgia was America’s famous peach state. I’ve met out-of-staters who had no idea peaches even grew here, and I’ve offered plenty of reassurances to newly-minted Utahns coming to the Beehive State from the south and grieving drupes left behind. (Did you know that the family of pit-bearing fruits to which peaches belong are called drupes?)
Utah has miles of operational fruit and vegetable farms. One of its abundant crops is peaches, and they’re GOOD. They give Georgia a game. They primarily come from Utah County, brimming with orchard acres, and the Brigham City area, to the north. Peaches are on as early as mid-July in some parts of the state, and our peach season usually wraps in early October. During those blessed months, you’ll see Utah peaches at every farmers’ market and at your neighborhood fruit stand.
Peaches are the biggest seller at Tagge’s Fruit and Veggie Farms in Perry, near Brigham City. Tagge’s employs up to 200 people each peak produce season and harvests 24,000 half-bushel boxes–that’s about 360 tons–of peaches a year. Lots of those juicy beauties end up in pretty glass jars on your mom’s pantry shelf, and look. I get it. In the dead of winter, any fruit is better than no fruit. But it’s a crime against nature to only enjoy this crop after it’s been through the pressure canner. Don’t deprive yourself of the sheer bliss of a ripe, fresh peach.
I’m pretty skeptical of the Adam and Eve story, but if there WERE a magical garden with a tree bearing fruit so good it jump-started the entire human race, there’s no way that wasn’t a peach tree. A peach is a ridiculous fruit. It has the audacity to be entirely sweet and soft–it doesn’t bother with tartness, sourness, pith, or crunch. It’s the earth’s dessert. It tastes like sex and candy. It leans all the way in to being indulgent and doesn’t care how sticky you get. It squirts juices everywhere when you bite in, then drips down your hands in a way that makes you feel vaguely nervous someone will walk in on you.
I maintain that the best way to eat a peach is out of your hand while you lean over the sink, but that’s far from the only good way. Peaches are versatile and so friendly to other ingredients; they offer sweetness and texture to all kinds of dishes that benefit from a variety of those elements. Layer sliced peaches on toast, on brownies, on savory crepes, on margherita pizza. Stuff them into fried chicken sandwiches with roasted jalapeños, hot honey, and ice cream, and don’t you dare show up to knock that without trying it first. Add diced peaches to a panzanella salad with crusty bread, fresh mozzarella, and handfuls of fresh herbs. Arrange them in your charcuterie with spicy cured meats, funky cheeses, and Marcona almonds. And of course, OF COURSE, if you’re not throwing fresh peaches on every bowl of cold cereal, oatmeal, ice cream, or yogurt during peach season, you’re doing it wrong.
Here’s where to start: find your closest Tagge’s stand (or brave the weekend farmers markets). Take a morning drive or a quick break from work. Grab some peaches, take them home, spread them out on a flat surface, butts up. (You’ll know it when you see it.) Depending on the climate in your own little peach-ripening operation, they’ll take a day or two to be ready–but not too long, because, unlike the sad traveling peaches at the grocery store, they’re picked ripe.
When the peaches give just a little under your fingers and smell like the energy of Eve saying “sorry, not sorry,” you can eat them. Wash one off and attack it like a sexy, sparkly vampire. Put the rest in your fridge, plan overnight oats and cobblers and sandwiches, and make sure to buy the next box before you’re completely out–gotta factor in that ripening time. You’re welcome.
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I’m Christy, I love the Oxford comma, and eating isn’t my full-time job but you’d never know it. Find me spending all my spare minutes prowling restaurants, markets, and food trucks around SLC, then filling the internet with photos and descriptions of what I love … which is just about everything. I specialize in hot and sweet—food, that is—and I’m an ardent supporter of eating local and supporting small.
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