Peaches are the top fruit tree in Texas, according to a Texas A&M report I recently read. There are over one million peach trees around the state, and only about half of them are planted in orchards over one acre in size. That’s a lot of peach trees planted in yards, and that’s a whole lot of peaches.
I am so envious of folks that have fruit trees out here in the High Desert. It seems that lately, every time I see one, it’s dripping with fruit to the extent that some folks set up tables to sell theirs, or even give them away because there’s just too much to handle.
I’ve been watching a peach tree in a Fort Davis yard for a while now, and sadly, the fruit-filled tree must be owned by non-peach eaters because the ground surrounding it is thick with fallen fruit. If it wasn’t trespassing, I’d go pick the rest from their tree before they went to waste.
The best time to plant a peach tree is in December, when the tree is dormant. It then needs to spend, depending on its variety, a specific number of hours at 45-degree temperatures to bloom in the spring, and then fill with fruit. Peach trees also need dry soil, preferably a sandy soil, because they are very sensitive to becoming water-logged. The roots need to breathe to thrive. Between the chilly air and the dry soil, it’s no wonder peaches do so well out here in far West Texas.
A few weeks ago, our sweet friend Anne Adams invited us to dinner at her beautiful Fort Davis home. While the dinner and the company were top notch, dessert made it even better… a big bowl of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh local peaches she’d gotten at the Marfa Farmstand. It doesn’t get much better than that.
In the days following our delightful dinner at Anne’s, I kept looking at pictures I’d taken of that bowl of vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches, and wishing I had more. As luck would have it, a stop into our trusty Stone Village Market and I was rewarded with a box of fresh local peaches, for a terrific price. One peach in, and we were in peach bliss… they were sweet, juicy, and dare I say, maybe even better than a Fredericksburg peach? I dare say so.
I wasted no time washing, pitting and vacuum-sealing them to freeze for future peach-needs. We now have five pounds of frozen and ready-to-use local peaches. But before all the peaches were frozen, we enjoyed a couple bowls of vanilla ice cream topped with caramelized fresh peaches. I can’t wait to plant a peach tree in December.
4 peaches, halved, pitted, and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
- In a medium bowl, toss together peaches, lemon juice, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
- Melt butter and sugar in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peach mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately over ice cream, if desired.