Peaches, July 2016
OK, this hot weather really makes it feel like summer... but no peaches!
Let's see what we can do about this... maybe I can provide you with some of my homegrown peaches this season?
I was lucky to grow up in Berks County Pennsylvania on a very large fruit farm. We grew a lot of peaches- SO many, that in 1979 my dad won a family trip to the Indy 500 because he was the number one buyer of peach boxes from the Anderson box company. It was quite an adventure for us. We drove around Indianapolis quite a few times looking for our hotel, and we were dumbfounded when we finally figured out that we were staying at the Hyatt Regency, the fanciest place we had ever seen! We were used to those kinds of hotels where you backed up the car to your door and could just bring your luggage in. At the Hyatt Regency we were introduced to valet parking, and we felt like the Beverly hillbillies as they unloaded our luggage, because my mom had packed most of our things in peach boxes! The exact peach packing boxes that had won us the whole trip...
We did have some tough peach growing competition in Berks county with another farm - let me introduce you to the Frecon Orchards. Now, I have known this family since the mid-70's. Mr. Frecon and my father were friends and the Frecon 'kids' were a little older than us. The three boys- Henry, Richard, and Jerry, graduated from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture (same as Doug and I). Richard even taught some classes there when Doug and I were students. Jerry retired in 2012 as the head of Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Gloucester County. He is recognized in the Northeast as the foremost authority on peach and nectarine cultivars, having evaluated more than 1,000 varieties during his tenure in New Jersey. So many of the delicious peach varieties we have chosen to grow are here because Jerry Frecon endorsed them- like the Saturn/donut peaches. Henry and his wife Torrie have been running the farm since the 80's, and in 2007 the ownership was passed on to their sons, Hank and Steve. We deal with Steve now, but when we go there we usually see his dad at the farm, and if we stop at the farm stand, his mom is there, and quite often we see his Uncle Richard or Aunt Terri.
We have always been able to depend on the Frecon family to help us out with early peaches, or if we need a few more in the season. But this year..... Let's just say we are going to see A LOT of them. However, we need to be extra thankful - this crop did not come easy this year. Late spring temperatures of 14 degrees here was too much of a battle to try and save our own peach blossoms, but it did not get quite as cold in Pennsylvania, and so the Frecons fought Mother Nature and won.
It is a 3 1/2 hour ride one way to get to the Frecon Farm in Boyertown Pennsylvania, but we think after reading all this you will understand why we do the drive. So, I will call them 'homegrown' because they are from my home state/county. But for Sue Frecon (sister /aunt to all those Frecons), who now lives in Germantown, New York, we can really give her her 'homegrown' peach. What a great feeling it is to have Sue come to our market and be able to eat her family grown peaches. It's a small and wonderful world!
We *truly* hope you enjoy these beautiful peaches we have to share with you from the Fecon family farm.
Hope to see you all soon,
Doug and Talea
Our peach crew from last season, a reminder of the blessings we've had, and giving us something to look forward to!
Learn more about The Frecon Family here.
If you all have even a few extra moments today, we HOPE that you will read the story of how they worked to prevent damage to their crops during this year's late spring freeze. Steve Frecon's description of three night's worth of freezing temperatures in their orchards and what it meant to them, not just in terms of crop loss, but in it's wider implications of loss for their workers and surrounding community, is truly inspiring.
It is, of course, especially meaningful to us that their efforts are not limited only to their own community, but that they reach all the way out to all of YOU. And we're pretty sure you will agree with us that the peaches are *extra* sweet this year because of the unbelievable journey they took to reach you!
As they say over at Frecon Farms:
EAT FRUIT BE HAPPY
Our market is open
Tuesday - Sunday
9am - 6pm
We are closed on Mondays