Monday, September 8, 2014

Sturges Orchards and Peaches

As I mentioned previously, I have heard from many farmers that they were not able to grow peaches this year due to the cold winter and the uneven temperatures over the summer. In the past we have gotten many of our peaches from Paul's Orchard at the East Liberty Farmers' Market. This year I was told that he does not have his own peaches or nectarines but is instead getting them from Chambersburg. I spoke to someone at Simmon's Farm who confirmed that she thought no one west of the Alleghenies has their own peaches. Chambersburg and Gettysburg peaches can be delicious, I know.

However, I am here to tell you that unless someone is lying to me (and I REALLY don't think they are), there is a local farmer who has his own peaches, and they are fantastic. Sturges Orchards. We have been getting these all summer. They are $7.00 for a quart (about 5-6 big peaches), and they are absolutely, consistently delightful. I've never had anything but a juicy, sweet peach, and not one even slightly mealy, ever. We have been buying their peaches at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District on Saturday mornings
and at Shady Side Academy in Fox Chapel on Wednesday afternoons (open from 3:00-6:00). They are also at several other markets.

Find their schedule on their Facebook page:

We have also bought a lot of other terrific produce from them including Zestar apples (a hybrid variety similar to Honey Crisp), apple cider, berries, and more.

Personally, I like my fruit as close to plain as possible. Over the summer I have been really enjoying peaches for breakfast with my yogurt. Or, in this case, Brownie Batter Pancakes with peaches, blueberries, and hemp seeds in addition to the yogurt.
Another delicious way to enjoy your peaches is in a parfait. I wish I had photographed it, but I didn't. We layered peaches (and blueberries) with whipped cream and this graham flour crumble. We also used the Smitten Kitchen's method of adding sour cream or creme fraiche (also mentioned in the graham recipe above) to make the whipped cream so that it held up over time. 

We also made this peach-blueberry cobbler from an old Cooking Light magazine. It was absolutely spectacularly delicious. Sorry if I'm violating copyright law here, but the recipe is not posted online. I hope you can read this recipe, but please let me know if you can't, and I will type it in.
In the recipe it mentions that the peaches should be peeled. I found this idea a little daunting at first because I have read that you need to score the peaches, boil them, put them in an ice bath, and then peel them. Instead, I just sliced the peaches and peeled them raw. I guess I was lucky and the skins let go very easily. Sort of like peeling a banana. 
I took advantage of the easy-peel peaches and froze a bunch so that I can make parfaits, yogurt breakfasts, cobblers, and who knows what else when no more peaches are available.
In the meantime, I will probably just eat them plain. See you at the Sturges Orchard booth! Do you have any suggestions or thoughts about local peaches? Please share in the comments!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I don't think anyone is lying to you about the peaches. We live about 10 minutes from the actual Sturges market, and were there about three weeks ago. I spoke to the farmer himself and he told me that because of the cold winter, their peach harvest was significantly less this year. Something like 1000 bushels in 2013 and only 300 this year.

BTW, the Ginger Gold apples are amazing! I've gone back twice now for more!