It’s peach season and I recently took a drive up the Brushy Mountains in search of the delightful donut peach which is an early peach with white flesh and when ripe sweeter than most other peaches, it’s somewhat flat and not as large as most commercial varieties. They are a special treat during peach season.
While working on a previous story during apple season, we visited with the folks at Tevepaugh Orchard who have been in the orchard business for five generations.
I recalled that Armit Tevepaugh mentioned that they also grew peaches. I was in hopes that the blooms for the donut trees were unharmed from the late freeze of spring. I arrived midafternoon, there was some activity but it was not too busy for Armit to take some time out to visit.
It was also good to see Wilkes County farmer Rex Torrence who was also in search of the donut peach. I know Rex and his wife Mozelle from the Farmers Market, his warm greeting of “Hello Neighbor, how you doing?” always brings a smile.
It was good news for both of us in that the donut peach was available and boxed up for travel. I ask Armit about the history of the peach. The Tevepaugh orchard was the first to bring the donut peach to the Brushy Mountains. As it turns the object of our quest has many names.
Originally from China and introduced to the United States around 1871, however it would take well over a hundred years to become popular. Officially the Saturn Peach, it is also known as paraguayo peach, pan tao peach, saucer peach, belly up peach, chinese flat peach, hat peach, custard peach, UFO peach, squashed peach and so on. We often like to name things based on how they look.
As to their homeland of China it is noteworthy that Chinese orchardist from the past placed great value on the peach, so much so that it was only planted in the emperor’s districts. The tasty pan tao (our donut peach) variety was among the prized orchards.
After catching up with Armit on the seasons harvest forecast and loading the car with a box of fresh off the tree peaches fit for an emperor, I made my way back down the picturesque mountain road.
When it comes to food the only thing I enjoy more than visiting a good farmers market is visiting the farmer. I love being where things are gown and I love visiting with the people who grow what we eat. Those visits remind me of why it is important to eat well and why we should support our local farmers and growers.
I understand that we all have busy schedules and taking time to secure fresh food requires a bit of effort, but it’s worth it. I believe It’s good for our bodies and our minds to consume the freshest and cleanest food we can find.
There is a simple expression, “pay the farmer or pay the doctor.” Sometimes we must do both, but it’s nice to think that the more we give the farmer the less we will need to give the doctor.
See you next week neighbor!