Life Is Berry Peachy

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, one of the best times of year was late summer when peaches came into season. Now, Georgia can go on as much as it cares to, but I doubt their peaches can hold a candle to Pennsylvania peaches. Perhaps a very small candle, like a birthday candle. Or maybe just a match. A damp one.

Anyway, my dad would buy peaches by the bushel, plump yellow peaches complete with fuzzy skin. The whole family would eat them, outside and leaning over, so we wouldn’t drown in peach juice. We ate them and ate them and ate them until the whole family had diarrhea. And it was worth it.

I’ve missed those peaches. Peaches in Japan are invariably white varieties, very juicy and sweet but unfortunately tasting only of sweet juiciness. I’ve seen yellow peaches in cans a couple of times, but even those are rare.

So imagine my surprise when the neighborhood veggie stand had yellow peaches.

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They’re some unfamiliar variety, not as sweet as Pennsylvania peaches, somewhat more tart, closer to nectarines, but I won’t split hairs. And the selfsame veggie stand also had strawberries. Mountains of strawberries. I would guess 2kg of strawberries for less than $3.

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I was suspicious.

That very veggie stand has been known to pass off some rather questionable produce, so I asked why the ruby colored gems were so cheap. The woman explained that they were restaurant quality strawberries from California, destined for strawberry shortcakes, but slightly too ripe and would need to be consumed ASAP.

I hesitated.

California? Most likely they were raised on Monsanto genetically modified fracking chromium. But when was the last time you got to gorge yourself on strawberries at the end of August? I always have to bid those glowing embers of heaven’s bonfire a tearful farewell in late spring and pine for them over the next ten months.

So I bought them. And the peaches. And picked over them to see which were most in need of immediate consumption. Those that didn’t survive the culinary culling made their way into a tart, a tart the likes of which all other tarts will strive to equal.

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As my very wise friend and mentor Meditation Cat has so wisely said, it is the unexpected that makes life so spicy. Or something like that. Blueberries a few weeks ago, then nectarines and now strawberries and peaches. Things could be a whole lot worse.

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