What’s in Season: Perfect Peaches
Few things speak of summer as much as peaches, which are usually in season here in Sonoma County, California, 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.
“…And still the warm round peach pie and the cool yellow cream we ate together that August night live in our hearts' palates, succulent, secret, delicious.” So wrote the legendary M.F.K. Fisher in her 1943 tribute to eating, “The Gastronomical Me.” Can’t you just taste that peach pie melting like silk on the tongue, and feel the glow of the evening?
For Dry Creek Peach stone fruit growers Brian Sullivan and Gayle Okumura Sullivan of Healdsburg, the beginning of harvest is awaited with great anticipation every summer. Just as eager are their dedicated customers, who cheer when they finally receive that email or newsletter announcing that “Peach Season is Here.”
The couple grows some 30 varieties of peaches on their 6-1/2 acres of fields amid endless expanses of grape vines, 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.
Each peach has a different look, flavor, and harvest time, but one thing unites them all: They are velvety, firm and juicy, sweet and perhaps just a tiny bit tart in all the right places.
Peaches can be purchased at the farm stand at the farm itself on Yoakim Bridge Road, noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from July through mid-September. Or look for the succulent 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.
Do as M.K.F. Fisher would have you do, too, and bake your own succulent peach pie, with this recipe courtesy of Dry Creek Peach. Then, toast the glorious summer evening with your own, from-scratch Bellini.
Fresh Peach Pie
- Baked 9" single-crust pie
- 1 package 8 oz. cream cheese set out to room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (save some for peaches)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 6 cups firm ripe peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced
Combine cream cheese and ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Spread this mixture over base of baked and cooled piecrust. Place remaining sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, cornstarch and one half cup peaches in a blender and blend together until smooth. Toss sliced peaches with lemon juice and set aside. Pour blended ingredients into saucepan and heat over medium until slightly thickened. Add fresh peaches to coat. Let mixture cool. With slotted spoon, scoop up peaches and place in prepared piecrust. Cool in fridge for a few hours before serving.
Mix first 6 ingredients in bowl (can be done up to 24 hours ahead). Shortly before serving, add salt (½ teaspoon or so) and set aside at room temp.
This pie recipe can also be used for the Mini Dry Creek Peach Crostata in the above picture. Just separate into smaller portions.
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 food & wine in Sonoma County.