Saturday, August 31, 2013

Taste test: Local peaches for the win

Fresh Pennsylvania peaches on the left. Super-fresh,
juicy and bright Southern Indiana (Huber's) peaches
on the right. Buy local when you can! It matters.
It's almost September, feels like summer, but we all know that autumn is coming soon. I loaded up on fresh local peaches this morning at the St. Matthews Farmers Market at Beargrass Christian Church, a favorite Saturday destination, feeling nostalgia pangs when I realized that this seasonal market will close in just a few weeks ... and that local peaches will probably be gone sooner still.

I love fresh peaches and eat a lot of them during the period when the regional crop availability moves north from South Carolina and Georgia through Tennessee to local farms in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, then on to Pennsylvania and poof, they are gone.  I know I could buy "peaches" from California during the winter, just as I could buy "tomatoes" from Florida or California, but ... meh.

Today, lugging home a sack of fine local beauties from Huber's farm in Southern Indiana, I realized that I still had a few ripe Pennsylvania peaches that I had picked up at a local produce market earlier in the week.

Hmm.  Let's try one of each!  Quick as a wink, I quartered them, popped out the pit, and cut them into chunks.  Mmm. Both are good, but it's easy to detect the local advantage. The Pennsy peaches are golden, juicy, aromatic and sweet. That's a lot to like. But the Indiana beauties are burnished reddish gold, dripping fresh juice, and fill the room with the scent of fresh peaches. They're sweet too, but even there it's a more distinct, nuanced peachy sweetness.  So, from good to better.  I had no complaint about the Pennsylvania fruit, but here's more evidence: Buy local when you can get it.