Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced to the readers of the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
It promised to be a hot summer day; the temperature was already approaching 90 as Annie drove to the Patel’s farm in East Country. As she pulled onto the road leading to their house, she smiled in anticipation of spending the day harvesting peaches. After parking by the farmhouse, Ude and Nishi greeted her with big smiles and elbow bumps. “Hi Annie, welcome to Agni farm. You picked a glorious day to visit us, and we are so happy to see you.”
“Thanks, I’ve been looking forward to this visit for a long time. You two look amazing, as always. Is it the whole natural food you eat?
“Nishi laughed, “Yes, eating organic food does contribute to good physical and mental health, and, also, I think it is deciding that every day is a good day no matter what you are facing. Farm life can be challenging, but we love it. Come, let’s get started on those peaches you came such a long way to pick. We are growing several types. Did you know there are over 2000 varieties of peaches, and 300 of that number produced in our country?
“I did not know that Nishi. That is amazing! So which types are good for canning, baking, and just plain eating?”
“Well, let’s start in the Elegant Lady orchard. These are freestone peaches, meaning their flesh removes easily from the pit. They are not juicy and have low sugar content; therefore, they are suitable for baking and snacking. Your timing is perfect; they are in season from May to October.
Next, they moved on to the Santa Rosa orchard. “Annie, these big beauties are clingstones, their flesh clings to the pit of this juicy yellow peach. They are excellent for preserving. Because they have a slightly acidic taste, they go well in salads too. We have an abundance of them right now because we are in the middle of their growing season, May to August.
In this orchard are the Red Havens. We begin to see their pretty pink flowers in the spring, and in the fall, their leaves turn bright gold. These trees can get up to 25 feet, so we decided to plant the dwarf variety that grows to about 6 feet and can live up to 40 years. Red Havens are yellow, tart, and sweet, semi-freestones. Their flesh is slightly easier to remove from the pit than a clingstone. This versatile peach is used in many ways. Since its flesh does not turn brown, they are excellent in fruit salads.
The orchard with the Babcocks is over here. We are in the middle of their growing season too. I especially want you to see them because they are California natives, some say they were developed in Berkeley in 1923 other accounts say in Riverside County in Southern California about the same timeframe. They are a non-fuzzy, white flesh peach. I am sure you can tell they are also aromatic. They are a sweet, juicy freestone and are suitable for snacking, canning, preserves, and desserts.
The Red Top orchard is last because they are a late summer peach, so they are only starting to flower. You will have to come back for these. I promise they will be worth it. These peaches are a red blush color on the outside with a firm, golden yellow, sweet, and tart flavored freestone flesh. Red Tops are good grilled, canned, or frozen.”
At day’s end, Annie prepared to leave. There were many expressions of appreciation and gratitude for the fruitful experience.
“I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my time with you two beautiful people. LJ is going to love this harvest. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from him about it.”
“It is our pleasure, truly Annie. We are so glad you could come out for a visit. Now remember peaches should not be refrigerated, so you will be busy preserving and baking for a while, I imagine.”
“Absolutely, and I’ll be back for the late summer harvest in September.”
“Peachy!” they laughed as Annie drove off.