Sometimes (all the time?) the garden and orchard throws you some surprises. We just spent months, with only middling results, fighting off the varmints from our peaches and nectarines (only passive measures, but one does get tempted to go “active”). Meanwhile, in the corner of the orchard one of our smaller trees had some peaches, but they seemed destined to stay hard and green forever. In fact, these were our Indian Free peaches, and they are a real treat.
The Indian Free peach is a late-season heirloom peach, common in the northwest and known for resistance to leaf curl. It’s been a popular peach for centuries, Thomas Jefferson even had them at Monticello. And as Jefferson was quite a gourmet, we aren’t surprised, the Indian Free peach is incredibly tasty and very beautiful. Actually we should say the insides are beautiful, with lovely variegated red and white color. The outsides are somewhat less attractive with less blush tones and more dark patches. But beauty often really is skin deep.
While the Indian Free’s appearance is somewhat undesirable (this and need for a pollinator make it perhaps a less popular commercial variety), the flavor is among of the best of any stone fruit we’ve tried. The Indian Free’s flesh is similar in color and flavor to a blood orange, with more tangy and “berryish” flavors than most peaches. And since we are big fans of blood oranges (see our early posts from last winter) we are instant fans of our Indian Free peaches. And while we could use them in cocktails or put up a few, we are just eating them…..quickly…
Why didn’t the squirrels and wood rats go after the Indian Free peaches? We have no idea. We didn’t reinforce or weight the nets, and we waited until they were ripe (the varmints tend to go after the fruit a few days before we would pick). We could come up with any number of plausible explanations, but we have no real evidence of any changes in the orchard. We will chalk it up to dumb luck. Go figure.
As for the rest of the orchard, the pears and figs are coming soon, and we are very excited. The Comice pears and the figs should be ready in a week or two (some concern that what we thought was a Black Mission Fig is a different fig variety, more on this later). And the “mystery” heirloom pears that grow on the side of the house are still at least a month or two out- these take a while. But once they are done, a new season begins.
And that means citrus! Our Meyer and Eureka lemons, Kaffir limes and Cara-Cara oranges are off and running. Meyer lemon-based punches for the holidays are already coursing though our minds. And sorbet, and preserved lemons, and lemon curd….you get the idea.
And as a last pre-holiday bonus, we leave you with pomegranates. We get just a few every year. Not enough to call it a crop, but just enough for a snack and some smiles….
- Orchard Update: Red Haven Peach Harvest! (putneyfarm.com)
- peach preserves (thissuburbanlife.typepad.com)
- Fresh Peaches | Livesay Orchards (afternoonpopcornsnack.com)
- Peaches! And Updates From The Orchard and Garden (putneyfarm.com)
- Garden Update: A Big Haul (putneyfarm.com)
- Bonus Cocktail: The Orchard Moonraker (putneyfarm.com)
- Drink Your Daily Peach: 6 Delicious Stone Fruit Cocktail Recipes (drinks.seriouseats.com)
Your very own Kaffirs! I pay Rosa an arm and a leg for a tiny bag of just the leaves at the Marin Farmer’s Market! A whole lime?! 2?! Exciting!
Leaves are fine, zest is good…still not clear what to do w/ the fruit…working on that…
No…but yuzu is tempting…always room for another tree somewhere….
You’re professional teasers … with your photos and your writing – those pears … to die for. Peaches I eat and enjoy them, but I prefer their best friends in the silk pajamas more, the nectarines.. I think I eat 2 lbs per day just now. They are cheap if anything exotic can be cheap in Sweden … this year they are of very high quality too – last year they were very very poor. Just adore landing here with you, guys … all my sense are being filled here. *smile
Thanks. We wish we had more nectarines, but we lost most to the animals. More success with peaches…too bad, as we had a lot of nectarines.
Always next year to look forward to…
Yes, indeed – hopefully they will be around a couple of weeks more – we have the apples now … and in 2 weeks time this years apple “painting” will be up.
Oh wow, I am jealous of your whole orchard, but especially your Kaffir lime tree! And all of those leaves… : )
Thanks! The leaves are cool (you will see these in use). The fruit is too bitter and acidic for much…but they are pretty..
Is the Indian Free Peach an Asian or Indigenous “Indian”? Maybe those little rascals just don’t know of their merits per the forces of nature? Whatever it may be, they’re beautiful, and I’m becoming a fan of your product outside of cocktails!
Not sure on the origin of the name (looking for it but the web isn’t helping much). But it is a peach worth looking for- very, very tasty!
These all sound so amazing…I’m a little jealous. 🙂
Thanks…this one was a very pleasant surprise…we take ’em when we can get them…
Beautiful images! Great post too.
I’d like a snack and a smile! the photossc from the orchard are photos full of promises
Love all the citrus. Again, so impressed with your garden/orchard!
Thanks! Now the citrus needs to ripen (it takes a while)…
everything looks yummy as always! x
What an orchard! My mouth was watering with the Indian Free peaches, and then the rest…I may actually have a green tinge all over.
Thanks! The orchard was a bit of a struggle but we had a very good year…very rewarding!
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