If only I had thought of it a day or two earlier I could have shared some of this with Ellen–and likely there would have been more. She, though, gave me a nectarine from her travels in the Central Valley and pointed out the tiny dimples: the farmer had told her the unusual rain striking the skin had done that.
So the story: I exchanged emails last winter with Andy Mariani, the owner of a well-loved orchard a ways south of here, and he was delighted to find someone who knew of and liked Loring peaches like he did.
I didn’t think we got enough chill hours for them to grow here. (But he’s in a slightly different subclimate.)
Yes he did have a few trees. Get back in touch with him come summer and he’d be glad to put some aside for me.
A tad late, I remembered all that and shot him off another note.
The market stand was sold out, he answered Thursday, but if I could come Friday they would be picking the very last few that morning. Maybe three pounds’ worth.
I don’t care if it’s just one single peach, I said, for my first Loring in thirty-eight years it’s worth the trip!
And so they managed to find ten peaches for me tucked among the leaves and set them aside. Michelle and I got there, and the woman at the counter asked, You’re Alison?
She offered samples of a Silk Road nectarine, too. I prefer peaches–but that was like no nectarine I’d ever tasted and would have been worth the trip down all on its own. I’d never had one run juice to my elbows before and I did not know they could have such an intense, interesting flavor–so some of those came home, too.
I did not get the name of the dappled, pretty, ripe, green–cherries? So they were. In almost-August. I’d never heard of such a thing.
We came home with our treasures and cut up our first Loring. That first picture is not a trick of the camera angle–that thing was 508 grams.
Michelle closed her eyes a moment and pronounced, Now that is a peach!
Relief! After all that buildup, it just couldn’t be a letdown, it couldn’t…and it wasn’t.
We took one to Timothy at the chocolate shop. “You didn’t go to Andy Mariani’s, did you? You did? Yes!” He shared it with his employees. Our favorite hot chocolates showed up at our elbows.
The one I later shared with Richard needed one more day to ripen perfectly but it had bruised slightly from all the juice and a little jostling and needed not to be wasted. He too pronounced it good, though I told him Michelle’s was even better.
At least I got to send Ellen off with homegrown Meyer lemons. She’ll just have to come back next July.
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