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An article about peaches in today's NYTImes quotes our (VERY good) food editor on

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Joined: Aug 15, 2007


Posted to Thread #28867 at 7:33 pm on Jul 20, 2016

"when to eat peaches". Cute article--and I am in the camp of the quoted Charlottean--whenever they come in!!
It does seem to bear out that there may be a shortage eventually this season.

When Is Peach Season? It’s a Bit Fuzzy
Freshly picked peaches from Pee Dee Orchards, less than two miles from the orchards’ stand in Lilesville, N.C. The peach stand is a regular summer stop for people traveling to North Carolina beaches. Credit Andar Sawyers for The New York Times
Kathleen Purvis, the Southern food writer most likely to let you know when you have something wrong, made a peach declaration on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.
Peaches, she said, should never be eaten before the Fourth of July. From there, one has six weeks to fill up.
Mary Neal Hill of Ansonville, N.C., shops for her weekly ice cream and peaches at the Pee Dee Orchards stand. Credit Andar Sawyers for The New York Times
Ms. Purvis, the food editor of The Charlotte Observer, adopted the rule after an interview in the 1990s with Jeanne Voltz, the pioneering food editor, who died in 2002. Ms. Voltz said that her Alabama father never wasted his calories or his jaw power on a peach before July 4. It just wasn’t worth it.
The private Facebook post unleashed a peach debate among a circle of cooks and food writers.
“That is a North Carolina rule, not a Georgia or South Carolina rule,” admonished Nathalie Dupree, another Southern food writer with deeply held opinions.
Texans offered that their peach season was almost over. Cathy Barrow, who writes Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen from her home in Washington, D.C., reported that she had eaten some great peaches from Georgia and Virginia recently, blaming climate change for their early arrival.
Peach fans from the Northeast weighed in, crying over what is shaping up to be an exceptionally lousy peach season because of a late frost. Californians were silent, even though the drought has affected the largest peach-producing state.
Here in the South, where high humidity, rain and long hot nights give peaches plenty of time to plump up, the crop isn’t as abundant as farmers would like. Still, the fruit itself is exceptional, with dense but yielding flesh so full of sugary juice that leaning over the sink is the best approach to eating one.
And in Atlanta, they are indeed at their best in July and August. But for many people, the need to eat a peach overrides seasonal perfection.
Graham Fowler, whose grandfather owns Pee Dee Orchards, serving homemade ice cream to customers. Credit Andar Sawyers for The New York Times
Juan Carlos Melgar, the peach specialist at Clemson University, ate his first peach around the middle of May. It was a clingstone, a type of early-harvest peach that is not as good to eat out of hand as the later-season freestones. In Florida, farmers are planting peach trees that produce fruit as early as April or May.
“They are not so nice looking,” Dr. Melgar said. “But they are peaches for people who want them as early as possible. People need their peaches.”

Indeed, we all need our markers of summer. For Ms. Purvis, it’s a fresh peach not eaten until the Fourth of July. For others, it’s a peach whenever one shows up.
“I always go in too early and stay too long when it comes to peaches,” Katie Monson, a Charlotte resident, posted on the Facebook peach debate. “I can’t help myself!”

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