When we think of peaches, we think of the middle of summer. Long, hot, humid days and fresh, plump, juicy peaches. We think of ice cold peach sorbets and delightfully warm peach crumbles. We also think of bubbly peach bellinis and refreshing peach salsas. I bet we even think of peach glazed pork chops and peach caprese salads too.
But what many of us do not think of is that peach season on Long Island doesn’t really begin until August and extends throughout September. Perhaps it’s because so many of us rush towards fall with visions of apple orchards and corn mazes in our heads. But why rush summer’s end when it still has so much left to offer?
That’s why my sister and I wait right until the kids are headed back to school before we take them peach picking. We wait for a random moment of free time and then surprise them with a trip out east. We pack all of the kids up in one car and head to visit the local U-Pick farms. Each year, we go somewhere new so that our children can see what each farm has to offer.
This year, we didn’t plan our trip very well. It was sweltering hot outside and we forgot how the sun always shines so brightly in the peach fields. Since peach and nectarine trees are rather small in nature there is no refuge from the sun’s glare or scorching heat. Plus, when the wind is absent, the yellow jackets swarm and angrily buzz about your children’s feet and the fallen fruit.
This is why peach and nectarine picking is best done on shady, breezy days in sneakers, not flip flops. But sometimes, plans go awry and you just have to make the best of it. At least this is what we like to tell our children. So to show them that we could still have fun, we carried on.
My job was to dive under the leafy green canopies of the peach trees and grab as many deliciously ripe peaches as I could. My sister’s job was to huddle the children close together and protect them from the “nasty” yellow jackets. The children’s job was to hold out their U-Pick bags and be ready for fistfuls of peaches. It was comical to say the least, but we left with what we came for: bags of gloriously plump peaches just ready for eating.
According to the kids, this trip was decidedly “funny,” but they did not like that we picked “the hottest day of the year” to go peach picking and tried to “kill them with a million yellow jackets.” Truth be told, it was hot and there were many yellow jackets. But don’t let the hot temperatures put a damper on your peach picking fun. The summer U-Pick season will end soon, and then we’ll be on to apples and pumpkins. So head out east this weekend and grab as many peaches or nectarines as your U-Pick bags can hold.