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Summer Recipe: Sonoma County Peaches

When you say “peaches” in Sonoma County, most people think immediately of Dry Creek Peach. As in the bucolic farm owned by stone fruit growers Brian Sullivan and Gayle Okumura Sullivan in Healdsburg.

The couple’s succulent fruit has been showcased in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Style Magazine, The Style Saloniste, and many other national publications. That’s because the couple grows some 30 varieties of peaches on their 6-1/2 acres of fields amid endless expanses of grape vines, in exotic types like the Red Haven, Rich May, and Autumn Flame. Some of the trees were planted by the farm’s original owners more than 50 years ago.

It’s a labor of love, as maintaining the orchard is a year-round commitment, from fertilizing to pruning. And then there’s figuring out harvest, since peaches are usually in season only June through September, or, thanks to the whims of Mother Nature, sometimes July through August. Sometimes, for the more delicate varieties, the fruit is ripe just a few weeks a year.

Peaches can be purchased at the farm stand at the farm itself on Yoakim Bridge Road, from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays usually from July through mid-September. Because of nature’s fickle schedule, it’s best to call ahead, though, and confirm that the trees are cooperating (707-433-8121). Or, simply check Facebook, for updates – this year, for example, warm weather prompted an early stand opening, on May 31.

Or look for the juicy orbs at the Saturday farmers’ markets in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, plus the Wednesday Healdsburg farmers’ market. The farm also makes peach chips, Bellini mix and peach jams, and sells organic peach wood that is ideal for summer barbecues.

It’s appropriate that the orchards nestle against neighboring vineyards. Because just like grapes, each peach has a different look, flavor, and ripening time. Yet all are velvety, firm and juicy, sweet and perhaps just a tiny bit tart in all the right places.

Plan on picking up some extra groceries at the stand, too, since in August, the farm’s Celebrity tomatoes and Walla Walla onions are in season as well. As the recipe below shows, the fruits and veggies make an excellent salsa to go on chicken, fish, pork, duck or beef grilled over peach wood.

The crowning touch, of course, is a toast with a crisp, refreshing peach Bellini.

Details: Dry Creek Peach & Produce, 2179 Yoakim Bridge Rd., Healdsburg, 707-433-8121.

 

Dry Creek Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 small peaches - peeled and cut in small dice
  • ½ large cucumber - peeled, seeded and cut into small dice
  • 1 Roma or Celebrity tomato - seeded and small dice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red or Walla Walla onion
  • 1 Serrano or jalapeno chile - seeded and minced
  • Juice from 1 lime (approx.. 4 teaspoons)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:
Mix first 6 ingredients in bowl (can be done up to 24 hours ahead). Shortly before serving, add salt (1/2 teaspoon or so) and set aside for about 15 minutes at room temperature, to let flavors blend.

 

Dry Creek Peach Bellini

(adapted from the Hotel Cipriani/Harry's Bar of Italy)

Puree all ingredients below:

  • ½ c. water
  • ¼ c. (approximately) lemon juice
  • ½ - ¾ lb. white peaches
  • 2 tsps. sugar

Strain the puree and then pour into a pitcher (preferably glass). Add one bottle of chilled Prosecco and stir. Serve in chilled champagne glasses and enjoy!

Find more info about things to do, restaurants and hotels in Sonoma County.

 

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