Pursuing peachy-keen perfection

Published 1:03 am 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.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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