I Dream of Peaches!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some people dream of fame. Some people dream of fortune. Still others dream of Jeannie.

But not me.

I'm the weird one.

I dream of: Peaches.

I do not dream of the peaches that Steve Miller sings about in "The Joker." I have no desire to shake anyone's tree. Something tells me Dear Steve wasn't crooning about the type of peaches that I have in mind.

In other words: real -- honest to goodness -- peaches.

Peach season is long gone in this part of Northern California. It came and went over a two-and-a-half to three week period for my O'Henry Peach tree in the backyard. But -- oh -- what a season it was.

Don't be worried. Don't you fret a bit. I got my fill of peaches this summer. It got to the point last month where I couldn't stand to eat another peach. That's a feeling that comes over you after consuming peaches every morning and night for 15-20 days straight.

Yeah -- they're good alright. But have you ever heard of "too much of a good thing?"

But -- sadly -- I find myself craving O'Henry peaches a month after the season has ended. I thought I got enough to satisfy that "fresh peach urge" during the season in question -- but I guess not.

Glistening O'Henry Peaches
In a season full of gardening "booms" and "busts" -- this year's O'Henry harvest definitely goes into the "boom" category. This year's harvest literally glistened with sugary flavors that can only be discovered when you harvest a tree-ripened peach at just the right time.

You know you've hit paydirt with an O'Henry peach when it slices open easily and effortlessly -- and the pit pulls away from the peach flesh with just the slightest touch of pressure. You know you've hit paydirt with an O'Henry peach whe you see that telltale red streak of sweetness running from the center of the fruit straight to the outer edges.

There's nothing better.

Sliced O'Henry Peaches
There were times earlier this summer when Venus and I harvested so many ripened peaches that it resulted in a sliced peach breakfast at work -- followed up by peach dessert for dinner later that night. The next day's harvest would bring about the same results.

That's a lot of peaches!

But -- sadly -- as I find myself with this fresh peach craving that I cannot satisfy -- it's not enough.

Our three year old O'Henry tree is at that special stage now where it's starting to overproduce for our own personal needs -- which is why some of our neighbors got to share in the harvest this year. Nothing gets a front door open quicker than the sight of freshly harvested peaches.

Now -- keep in mind -- that I'm not referring to those peaches that are still rock hard when harvested. I understand -- from an agricultural standpoint -- why most peaches must be harvested long before they hit that special stage of ripeness.

But it's still just criminal in my opinion. That doesn't taste like a peach! It has the consistency of a Fuji Apple! Peaches don't taste like that!

But -- although the tree produced a large crop this year -- it's still not to that point where Venus and I can give serious thoughts to canning this fresh harvest for winter usage. We're close -- but we're still not "there" yet in terms of tree size. I've still got to cull this tree quite a bit to focus on root development and tree growth.

While it is tough to pull all those green peaches off the tree and throw them into the green waste pile -- I always remind myself -- "remember, each new branch this tree sprouts means another row of peaches next year."

Plus -- the tree doesn't literally snap in two under the weight of a full crop of tree-ripened peaches. I've seen that before. Ever seen a grown man cry? You should have seen me on the day in question.

It's mid-September. I should be thinking about football like most normal men do during this time of year. I should be thinking about planting that fall garden like most rational gardeners are doing right now.

But I'm not rational. I dream of peaches.