I have long been a fan of "U-Pick" places.
You know, those rickety, spray painted signs on the roads wayyyyyy out in the middle of nowhere in your town, advertising "Sweet Corn" "May Peas" "Strawberries", etc.
Bonus points if the signs are misspelled, lol.
When I took my kids (some of them, anyway, not everyone was interested, story of my life) strawberry and pea picking, I noticed a sign that said, "Come back in July for our PEACH FESTIVAL!" Well, yeah, I'm interested. Except that we were gone most of the month - I went to NYC for conference, which took up a lot of my time and attention, and then we were getting ready to go to my dad's
and so, we missed the Peach Festival that they held.
Over the weekend, I had a block of free time, and so I decided that peach picking might be a fun activity.
No one, not one person, wanted to come with.
So I went by myself.
It was - just about as blissful as one might expect. There was virtually NO ONE else at the farm.
When I checked in at the weigh station, I had no idea what to expect. Sure, I've done a lot of pick your own stuff - I'm no farmer or nothing, but, you know, it's pretty simple, usually - and the clerk instructed me that she was pretty sure this was the last weekend, because the trees were fairly well picked over. She said to drive up to the rope, park and then walk. And be prepared to walk for a while, as the front trees were certainly picked over, but the back ones would probably still have some fruit.
I don't know much about peaches, but this really doesn't scream "PICKED OVER", now, does it?
I had prepaid for two bags, and after walking almost all the way to the end - and she was right, it was at least 3/4 of a mile - I decided to walk up and pay for another bag.
All in all, I picked a bushel and a peck - which is hysterical to me, because the first theater show I did after graduating was Guys and Dolls, and that was one of the songs I danced to, and you know what? A bushel and a peck is actually quite a few peaches, thank you very much.
It was so quiet there. Peaceful. No planes, no people, no noise at all - just wind and trees and bumble bees and peaches all over the ground, juices dripping from fruit so ripe it had burst on the tree, and the smell of peaches pervasive in the air. Faintly, I could hear the crowing of a rooster, and I smiled - wouldn't it be nice to live here? And be surrounded by peaches and farm animals and live, close to nature?
And then I remembered sleeping on the porch at my grandparents house and being woken waaaaayyyy too early in the morning by their stupid rooster and told myself to stop romanticizing things, because roosters aren't awesome when one likes to sleep as I do.
By the time I got back to my car, I was soaked in sweat and had more peaches crammed into those bags than I think they were designed to hold.
Just one more. Just this one, and that one, and Oh! look at that one! Better grab it too!
I made about a dozen jars of peach butter - delicious on homemade bread - a peach pie (which now that I've mastered homemade crust feels like VICTORY in a pie pan!) - crammed four mason jars full and covered with brandy and vodka and simple syrup and zest to make Summer Time Liqueur for hopefully Christmas gifts, and have a big bowl remaining. My plan was to cut them up and freeze them, but I've gone to three stores and can't locate the correct stuff needed (you sprinkle in on the fruit so it doesn't turn brown and mushy and gross before you put it in the freezer - although this site tells me I can use a lemon water bath so that may be today's plan of action) - and we still have fruit to snack on.
Yum. I love this kind of stuff.