One summer about six years ago, I gained a new appreciation for how much work goes into bringing peaches to the market.
A friend had invited me to harvest pick-your-own peaches up at Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown, PA, one of the farms that supplies Wolff’s with their peaches. I was used to picking strawberries, blueberries and apples, but picking peaches was a new experience. Picking these other fruits had prepared me to check for ripeness and expect a fruit that could be eaten right away.
As I wandered down the rows, reaching for the yellow-orange fruit, every single one of them was quite firm, not ready to eat. Yet these were the rows we had been directed to, and Weaver’s always makes sure to direct customers to the rows where they will be able to pick the very best fruit.
That summer I got a quick primer on peach picking. You actually want the firmer fruit because the softer ones will bruise more easily. In fact, even with firmer fruit, it’s important to pick the peaches from the tree very gently, with the length of your finger tips, and settle them into a shallow cardboard box. And instead of squeezing the peach to figure out how ripe it is, you can simply look at the background color. If the background color is yellow instead of green, you can rest assured that the peach will be a good one.
My primer made me realize once again what careful work goes into selecting and transporting the high quality peaches that arrive at Wolff’s during late July and August. No wonder they are so juicy you have to eat them over the sink!
Now that it’s peach season once again, it’s time to make the most of it. Here are nine Wolff’s Apple House recipes that do just that.
Cucumber and Peach Salad
This is the recipe that first convinced me that you can mix fruits and veggies in the same salad. The basil and balsamic vinegar bring the sweet and savory flavors together for a deliciously refreshing salad.
Peach Oat Crisp
What’s better than a fruit crisp in the summer time? I can’t think of much! This recipe comes from Chuck Smith, who advises bakers to choose ripe peaches and to pay special attention to not overcooking the crust.
Peach Flatbread Pizza
You can either purchase flatbread or make your own naan using the recipe included here. Top it with prosciutto, mascarpone cheese, and a peach compote.
Peach or Mango Avocado Black Bean Salad
This recipe is like a peach salsa taken to the next level to become a filling side dish that’s great for picnics. Originally, the recipe called for mangoes, but it’s delicious with peaches as well!
Brie Quesadillas with Peach Compote & Basil
These Brie quesadillas, made with a sweet balsamic peach compote recipe from Lori Scheckler of DiBruno Brothers, are best when baked. (They’re hard to flip in a frying pan.) Be sure to serve them from mid-July to the end of August, when local peaches are at their peak: juicy, flavorful and aromatic.
Easy Peach Popsicles
This recipe uses simple ingredients and tastes nice and fresh! Freeze peaches while they are ripe, fresh and local and then you’ll have a delicious ingredient to make these peaches all year round!
Wolff’s recommends this peach-filled bread pudding as a perfect “comfort food” for the summer months and suggests topping it with vanilla ice cream, and add blackberries for a pop of tartness.
Peach-Blueberry Two Cheese Galette
Galettes are my go-to dessert for using in-season fruit because they have all the flavors of pie but without the extra steps required to make an attractive pie crust. For this recipe, you can spread out a layer of cream cheese, top it with peaches, blueberries and a sprinkling of sugar and melted butter, wrap it all up and stick it in the oven. It turns out sweet, cheesy and juicy, with hints of cheesecake in the thick cream cheese layer at the bottom.
Need dessert for a dinner party? This cobbler feeds 9-12 people! It uses five cups of fresh peaches. Yum!