In Search of Perfect Peaches
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.