There's nothing better than hand-picked Hill Country peaches.
Summer is at its best when the kids are in these peach trees sampling the harvest, juice running down their hands, squealing about how yummy and sweet the peaches are. It's become one of our many summer rituals. Hopefully someday soon we'll have our own peach tree to harvest. Until then, we'll continue supporting our local orchards...climbing and picking...picking and eating.
We tried buying peaches from the store. Hard. Dry. Bitter. Nope. Not for us. It's worth the hour drive, it's worth the hot summer weather, it's worth the time it takes walking from tree to tree in search of the best.
It's worth spending the day with friends and kiddos learning the art of the peach...how it grows, the sap it leaves, it's color, it's texture, it's smell, what it looks like when the perfect peach is ready to fall, which peaches are best to leave to ripen a bit more, how many turns it takes till it breaks from it's limb - we've been told there's an art to picking perfect peaches. It's our quest to learn.
And let's not forget the art of blackberry picking. When I was young blackberry bushes grew wild along the fences. We could pick and eat till we were as plump as the berries. We grew our own blackberry bush this year and it produced nicely for us, but nothing beats walking thru rows and rows of 7ft tall bushes seeking out only the blackest and most juiciest berries. I love blackberry cobbler, but this year I decided to try making blackberry jam instead. And of course, peach preserves.
Mushing, boiling, stirring...
Filling the jars with homespun yummy-ness...
For a once empty cabinet now bursting with jams and preserves (with lots left over to share with friends). And for another summer filled with memories spent wiping peach juice off our chins while rambling thru a forest of fruit.
The efforts are not lost...the time is not spent unwisely. There's nothing I'd rather be doing with my children.
In fact, I think we'll go back for more!