In Search of Perfect Peaches

September 3, 2008 at 12:34 am 3 comments

One of the joys of summer is biting into and savoring the perfect peach.  But finding one requires eating some awful ones.  

I tried many different peaches at the farmers market and my local health food store before finding the ones that lived up to what peaches should be – juicy, sweet, and smoothly textured.  I found them at the supermarket, of all places, for an incredible 99 cents a pound.  The large yellow peaches, in season now for at least four weeks, were always one or two days from just-right ripe.  Unlike most of the fruit at the supermarket, the peaches came from a local grower – Fralinger Orchards in Bridgeton, New Jersey – only 130 miles from New York City. 

I couldn’t believe how great-tasting they were and how cheap.  At one point the price fell to 69 cents a pound.  I piled up on them that week, but not as much as I would have liked as I had already dutifully bought peaches at the farmers market.

The ones at the farmers market weren’t nearly as good.  I tried several different kinds from different vendors, and none were satisfactory.  They all had a coarse, uneven texture or a tough skin or both.  Only one vendor offered a decent peach, which went for $4 a pound.  I balked at the price tag — $7.50 – for my half-dozen peaches.  The peaches at the market all went for $3.50 to $4.00 a pound.   

The peaches at the health food store were slightly cheaper at $2.69 a pound, but were the worst-tasting peaches I’ve ever had.  In fact, I could barely eat them.  They were certified organic, unlike all the other peaches I tried, and came from California. 

The lesson from all this? You have to shop around.  Farmers markets are good places to start, but don’t throw in the towel on supermarkets. Sometimes they might surprise you. 

Entry filed under: Farmers Market. Tags: , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Frank  |  September 4, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I agree. Peaches can be pretty hit and miss. However, this may have more with the store’s distribution network and the store’s Fruit Manager more than anything else. Having worked in a super market with an excellent Fruit Manager I know this to be a fact. But this also leads to a series of question concerning Farmer’s Markets. I often wonder if the goods coming into a “Farmer Market” are actually coming directly off the farm or out of a distribution center. What is to stop some fruit Jobber in the Bronx from loading a truck and selling his picked over fruit at a “Farmer’s Market”. Perhaps some investigating reporting maybe required here!

  • 2. mcorreia  |  September 5, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Hi Frank and thanks for writing. I can understand your skepticism over farmers markets, but in New York City the vendors are closely monitored by Greenmarket, the organization that runs the 91 markets in the city. Vendors must grow or raise everything themselves. They cannot buy from middlemen or brokers and then sell it at the market. Recently an upstate meat farmer was suspended from the farmers market for violating that rule – it created quite a stir in the world of NYC farmers markets.

  • 3. Peach Pursuit « New York Bounty  |  September 8, 2009 at 1:43 am

    […] have pleased me.  Maybe East Coast peaches are just not that great.  Last year, I lucked out with local peaches I found at the supermarket on my block, but I had no such luck this year.  The WSJ article […]

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