Fresh Eats Blog: Peaches

 In Market News

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: peaches.

Did you know peaches were once known as Persian apples?

Did You Know?

Did you know there are two main varieties of peaches: clingstone and freestone? The flesh of clingstone peaches stick to the pit while it is easily separated in freestone varieties. One of the hallmarks of summer, peaches can be found in recipes like peach cobbler and peach salads!

Peaches are in season in South West British Columbia for the month of August but are available in other regions for longer periods. Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market, we are lucky enough to have peaches early in the season!

Recipe of the Week

Peach Salsa

Courtesy of Sproule & Sons Farm, Oyama, B.C.

Ingredients:

6 cups of diced peaches
1 1/4 cups of chopped red onion
4 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Directions:

Step 1- Simmer ingredients for five minutes.

Step 2- Pack into hot jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes or 15 minutes.

Step 3- Cool, then serve and enjoy with chips, tacos or bread.

Ingredients at the Market

Peaches: Harvest Direct Farm

Bell Peppers: Floralia Growers, Never Say Die Farm

Cilantro: Floralia Growers, Shen’s Farm, Red Barn Plants and Produce

Greens: Amazia Farm, Beckmann Farm, Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Harvest Direct, Hill Top Farm, Langley Organic Growers, Mandair Farms, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Snowy Mountain Organics, Wah Fung Farm

Bread: A Bread Affair, Delish Gluten Free, Gesundheit, Marie’s Guilt Free Bakery

Steps on How To

Peach Planting 101:

Step 1- Choose a tree about one-year-old and plant in a site with well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun. Be sure to avoid low areas because frost can more easily settle there and destroy your peaches.

Note: For container-grown trees, remove the plant from its pot and remove any circling roots by laying the root ball on its side and using shears to cut through the roots. For grafted trees, position the inside of the curve of the graft union away from the sun when planting.

Step 2- Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be gentle with the roots when spreading them away from the trunk.

Step 3- Add organic fertilizer and water regularly to increase the growth of the tree.

Step 4- Be sure to prune the tree to an open center shape. In the summer of the first year, cut the vigorous shoots that form on the top of the tree by two or three buds. Pruning and removing ripe fruit reduces the chance of diseases.

Step 5- Harvest the peaches once they are no longer green.

Note: Most types of peach trees are self-fertile, so planting one tree at a time is fine. ‘Harmony’ or ‘Canadian Harmony’ is a recommended variety because it is winter hardy and moderately resistant to bacterial leaf spot. It produces medium to large fruit and freezes well.

Peaches in B.C.

Did you know in 1846, Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island planted a six acre orchard laid out with apples, pears, and peaches?

The culture of peaches in Canada is mainly limited to southern B.C. and Ontario! Since peaches thrive where summer temperatures are high, Canadian peach trees are considered “short-lived”, lasting about ten to 20 years.  In the semiarid valleys of this province, irrigation is key for commercial culture.

While the true growing season in Southern British Columbia only lasts about one month in the summer, many places in the province with higher summer temperatures can produce peaches for close to three months. Peach farmers plant 12 or more varieties which ripen at different times.

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