Pursuing peachy-keen perfectionPublished 1:03am Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I love peaches. Peach ice cream, peach pie, peach cobbler, peach soda, fresh peaches, canned peaches, peach preserves and peach milkshakes — I love them all.
Perhaps it’s because my maternal side of the family is from Georgia, the Peach State. Perhaps it’s because my high-school years were spent in Spartanburg, S.C., well-known for its peach production. Perhaps it’s because Spartanburg is about 20 miles from Gaffney, S.C, where a water tower is shaped and painted like a peach. Whatever the reason, this Southern boy loves his peaches.
When I am able to find a peach Nehi soda — the best peach soda I’ve ever had — I rejoice like the Prodigal Son’s father when his rebellious son returned home. I appreciated the fact that The Allman Brothers Band titled on of the band’s albums “Eat a Peach.” It figures a band based in Macon, Ga., would do that. “Eat a Peach” was a double album — and good advice.
As a towheaded young’un, the question before me was whether to peel a peach before eating it or just bite into it, fuzzy skin and all. I probably went 50-50 on that decision. The fun in eating a really juice peach is knowing the juice will run down your chin and drip on your T-shirt, already stained with drops from an RC Cola and crumbs from a Moon-pie.
The only thing that beats peach juice running down your chin is watermelon juice running down you chin. Of course, on lucky days, I could have peach juice and watermelon juice running down my chin within minutes of each other.
When it comes to peaches, I like any variety. I like for my peaches to be about the size of softball. I don’t like cold springs, for a frost at the wrong time will severely damage the peach crops grown in the South. Like barbecue from the South, I prefer Southern peaches. Not only do I buy into the buy-local campaign, I also like to eat local when it comes to peaches.
As far as I am concerned the peach — prunus persica — is the perfect fruit — except for its pit. It gets in the way when I eat a peach. Then again, peach trees spring up from such pits.
My Uncle Bobby lives next to a peach orchard just outside of Boiling Springs, S.C. I think I may visit him in mid-July, about the time the peaches are ready for picking — and eating.
Mike Voss is the senior newsroom employee at the Washington Daily News.