“Peaches, ripe for the picking,” my neighbour tells me from atop his tractor as he passes by. “We can’t eat them all.”
No need to ask me twice. This morning I headed over with an empty picking sack.
I’ll be honest, in all the years I’ve lived next door to this farm, I thought they only had one kind of peach. Pêche de vigne, vineyard peaches, of which there are several types.
The one grown next door isn’t a pretty variety on the outside, it looks a bit rough, a cowboy peach that’s been out in the weather too long and smoked a few hundred too many cheroots.
But there are two heavily laden peach trees, and the second is bending with the weight of green peaches that look vaguely unripe, but are soft to the touch and ready for harvest.
I’m happy to say I took a few of them, too. Because while I have no idea what this kind of peach is called (there are over 2000 kinds of peach), it’s a revelation of taste.
Tangy peach scent with a hint of vanilla, and the flavour is crisp with an aftertaste of honeydew melon.
The scent of the pêche de vigne is completely different, a heady mix of sweet and rich red earth. The flesh looks like it’s been steeped in port wine, and that’s pretty much what it tastes like, too.
In the past I’ve made sorbet using these red peaches with a dash of port, and if I do say so myself, it’s not bad.
I foresee a large amount of peach jam, preserved peaches, peach pie and peach sorbet in my near future.