I am so used to grocery store peaches, I didn’t even know what a peach tree looked like until we went peach picking at Hollin Farms, VA. It was a lovely experience picking fresh, ripe peaches. But the very first thing I did when we arrived at the farm was inhale a bug. I must have been gaping too much at the rolling hills and the gorgeous fields. I felt a little remorse at having ingesting a living thing; but felt much better when I found out that the pick-your-own peaches were super cheap compared to grocery store peaches.
Mark, a manager at the farm, chatted with us while we picked peaches. He peeled a juicy, yellow fleshed red haven peach for us to sample.
Then Mark educated us on…
Freestone – the pit is easy to remove from the flesh. Most the peaches we encounter are freestone.
Clingstone – the pit ‘clings’ to the flesh and is difficult to remove compared to a freestone peach
Peck – a unit of dry measurement. The peaches we picked were measured in pecks. 1 peck equals 2.3 gallons. Each peck we picked came to about 12 lbs.
Red haven – red skin, yellow flesh, good for canning
Sentry – semi-freestone, yellow flesh
White lady – firm, white flesh, brilliant color, great for desserts, my favorite
Sweet scarlet - yellow flesh, low acid
There were a ton of peaches fallen on the ground. I think these are White ladies.
A particularly productive tree..
How to pick a ripe peach
First determine that the peach is ripe; gently press on the peach with your fingers. If it gives slightly, the peach is ready to pick. Lightly tug on the peach and it should come away from the branch easily. Most the ripe peaches we found at the orchard had actually fallen to the ground. So we just picked them off the ground. As mark says, “fallen peaches are nature’s way of telling you they are ripe”.
If your peaches aren’t ripe yet, just leave them on your counter top for 1 or 2 days and they will soften.
A peck of peaches.
Hollin farm also had sunflowers. Oh my, they were so gorgeous..
I was obsessively taking sunflower pictures…even after we got in the car to leave!
And I only stopped taking pictures because my camera ran out of memory.
Coming up next…how to pit a peach and an easy peach tart recipe!