Supermarket peaches disappoint me, much like Washington politicians. The fruit looks gorgeous at the store--pale yellow orbs with lakes of teeny tiny dark red freckles. Perfect looking. Perfect to the touch.
But then I get them home and a day or two later, they get soft and mushy in some spots and stay hard in others. And they taste about as flavorful as a raw potato. Or they don't get ripe at all no matter how long I leave them on the kitchen counter. Sometimes they grow turquoise mold before I give up and toss them in the garbage.
Still, I've had a couple of mighty fine peaches in my life, the remembrance of which keeps me searching for more. The first fabulous peach I had was years ago, many miles into an organized bike ride. I think it was the Apple Cider Century bike ride in the New Buffalo, Michigan area. But I could be wrong. The Apple Cider is an annual bike ride that takes place in the fall (September 25, this year), but as the name suggests, the ride is more about apples than peaches.
Anyway, the peach that I remember was ripe and juicy with firm flesh that gave just a little when you pressed it and offered up a lovely faint, fresh, floral perfume. It tasted sweeter than a Dairy Queen sundae. I wanted to eat it leisurely, savoring each bite and then repeat that experience with a a few more peaches that day, but alas, I couldn't. I was on a bike, and there were a lot more more miles to pedal.
The second fabulous peach experience was just a couple of weeks ago near Vail, Colorado. I was at the Route 6 Cafe at a party given by my brother Don and his wife Helen. The fete was in honor of the marriage of their son Eli and daughter-in-law Sam, who got hitched last April in Mexico.
Don's longtime friend Charlie, who lives on an organic farm near Fort Collins with his wife Tara, was at the party. Although the couple don't grow peaches, Charlie had just purchased a bushel or so of Palisade peaches, which are grown in Palisade, Colorado and only available in August. Charlie went out to his car during the festivities and generously gave my sister Nancy and I a bunch of peaches.
I waited until I got back to my hotel room to eat one of mine. I'm glad I did because the peach rated high on the juicy scale, lots of sweet golden liquid dripped down my chin every time I bit into it. I don't know if the peach was as magnificent as the one I had on the bike ride, but it sure was good. Besides, it's hard to top first experiences, especially if they're good ones.
Yesterday, as I passed by Didier Farms Farmstand in Prairie View, I noticed that Michigan peaches were in. I turned the car around and was able to snag up the very last one. We'll see if it as lives up to my other two outstanding peach experiences. One can dream, right?