Peach Pits and Summer’s Promise

Every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace.

Duane Allman

Aug. 22 is Eat a Peach Day. Naturally this is the perfect time of year for the sweet drippy fruit and playing some Allman Brothers.  How do you take your peaches? In a pie or in your ice cream? I long for old-fashioned peach cobbler with the fruit nearly mush and a slightly spongy biscuit top—perfection with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. 

When I was young, my father planted several peach trees in our backyard in Louisiana. He was so in love with peaches that he wanted them within easy reach. 

I don’t remember how we managed to eat all that fruit but I know the birds were thankful for all the peaches we failed to reach before they dropped to the ground and began to rot.

If you want a deep dive into pomology (the branch of botany that studies fruit and its cultivation) or just a near-poetic appreciation of the stonefruit, I point you toward a story written by Shane Mitchell for The Bitter Southerner. In The Queen of Delicacies, Mitchell traces the history of the peach from China to the research farms and labs across the country studying the fruit to the various Peach Queens and assorted festivals celebrating its staying power. I highly recommend giving it a read or a listen on the Batch podcast.

We may associate peaches with the South, but there are some orchards growing them in Maryland. (I am not wading into the debate of whether Maryland is part of “the South” today. That is a longer discussion best done over dinner.) In 2017 there were 831 acres of peaches harvested in Maryland (2017 Maryland Agriculture Census). You can still pick your own through the end of September at several orchards in the region.

Some of those farms are over on the Eastern Shore, meaning a trip across the Bay Bridge. Tired of the bridge backups? Want to know what the latest is on a solution? The Maryland Transportation Authority is hosting open houses where you can learn more about the studies in progress to address the issue.

The traffic usually subsides after Labor Day, when all the vacationers are back in the grind and the kids are back in school. I know I am looking forward to the routine and structure that comes with the school year. No surprise, my kids do not feel the same. They think the break should last much longer.

I hope you are squeezing the last bits of juicy goodness from your summer. This last week has had a touch of fall to it and I am thankful. Me and 90-degree temps just don’t get along. Let me know if you find a perfect peach in Chesapeake Country and your favorite way to enjoy them. Also, I would always love to hear from you readers what you enjoy the most about CBM Bay Weekly and what you would like to have more of. Is it stories about new businesses? More reporting on issues like transportation, the environment, local government or education? Or are you a fan of the profile stories about the people we know and the places we go? My email inbox is always open: [email protected].

And when you visit local businesses you see here in these pages, let them know you saw them in Bay Weekly. 

Kathy Knotts is editor of CBM Bay Weekly.