Who: Lane Southern Orchards
What: Georgia Peaches
Where: Fort Valley, GA
There is perhaps no Southern fruit prized as highly as the peach. It's Georgia’s food claim to fame. This time of year, folks buy the soft, red-blushed globes with golden flesh by the bushel to bake up in sticky cobblers, churn into cool ice cream, and enjoy in a hundred other ways. But if you want to end up with a pie that’s “peachy keen,” you’ve got to start with good product.
We asked Wendy Barton at Lane Southern Orchards, in the heart of Georgia’s prime peach-producing area, how to pick a perfect peach.
What to Look For
“First, find a Georgia peach!” says Barton. “They are always best.”
Then think about when you want to eat or use it. If you can’t wait – if your peach passion is impatient – look for a softer peach with a strong peach smell. “Peaches are part of the rose family; that’s why they are so aromatic,” says Barton, “and how aromatic they are lets you know how ripe they are.”
If you plan on eating or cooking with them later, choose firmer peaches that still have a bit of give when squeezed, and a fainter, but still sweet, fragrance.
In terms of color, the ratio of the signature “peach” tint to red and dark yellow present at optimum ripeness can vary by variety, but you always want to see bright, vibrant hues.
What to Avoid
The things you never want to see are wrinkly skin (a sign of drying out) or green color on the skin (a sign it’s not ripe enough).
Wendy also offered this advice: “Don’t store them in your refrigerator unless you are trying to slow down ripening for some reason.” Store them in your pantry or on your counter in a pretty bowl.