For the past four years, I've been part of a peach "family". Every January, we (well, Gayle submits it actually) submit an application to the Masumoto Peach Tree Adoption Program. The Masumotos are family farmers, and they set aside about 50 heirloom peach trees for this program. From their website:
We farm a wonderful old heirloom peach called Elberta (certified organic). Elberta is one of those old fashioned, creamy, buttery smooth peaches with a bright yellow flesh and a golden skin when ripe. ... So how can you get a taste of these gems? By adopting a tree! And, if the weather and nature cooperates, each tree should have between 400-500 pounds of these peach gems.
If you are chosen to be an adoptive family, you commit to two weekends of picking peaches, dates dependent on Mother Nature. Our family is big enough that most members only pick one weekend. Then, for a couple of weeks after harvesting, it's a plethora of peaches - peach cobbler, barbequed peaches, prosciutto wrapped peaches, peach salsa, peach chutney, peach jam, peaches in salad, and just plain perfectly ripe sliced peaches. This year I made jam for the first time. (I was quite pleased with myself, I have to say.)
We also enjoy a post peach picking potluck, in which all "family" members bring a peach dish. This year we had tortilla chips and peach salsa; prosciutto wrapped grilled peaches; pork with peach chutney; a green salad with peaches, candied walnuts and bacon; green bean, tomato and cucumber salad (our only peach free dish); ginger peach ice cream; peach upside down cake; and a nectarine crisp (a guest picker had picked some nectarines while we were in the orchards). Delicious!
The postcard to the left above shows some of the fruit and nut products grown in the central valley of California, including peaches. From upper left, clockwise: raisins, peaches, oranges, and almonds. The picture on the right features just a few perfect peaches, post harvest.
P.S. It's Postcard Friendship Friday. Check it out.