We started our Washington State Peach and Nectarine harvest in mid-July this season, roughly about 10 days earlier than normal. It is one of my favorite times of the year!
My Washington State stone fruit love goes back to my high school days working for Schmidt Bros. produce in Westhampton Beach and Hampton Days. I ran the fruit stand in Westhampton during the summer and during the school year would work at the Hampton Bays' location. My mom would occasionally buy peaches at the store, but they weren't a regular item for us, and I remember one day we received this shipment of these huge peaches. I bit into one and it was so juicy and sweet, I couldn't stop talking about them. I'd bring them home to my parents, and if customers weren't buying any, I'd often slice one to say "you won't believe the flavor!"
I remember a friend of mine had a summer job on a Westhampton garbage truck and he pulled up one day and I grabbed a ripe peach for him. I said "Eugene, you have to try this!" and we both stood out in the parking lot, eating our peaches and discussing how great they were. Two high school boys talking about this delicious fruit, who'd have thought.
At the time I didn't realize my career would one day take me into the fruit industry, and that I'd be marketing these Washington State peaches and nectarines. For several years I was the Domestic Promotion Director for the Washington State Fruit Commission and I'd proudly ship off samples from all the great peach producers in the state. I love the way the fruit grows in our state, taking advantage of the warm summer days and cool summer nights, giving our stone fruit the best color in the industry and oh-so-sweet flavor.
If you don't see Washington State peaches and nectarines in your favorite produce department, ask for them. Produce managers often have the ability to bring in specific requests. Or, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll see what I can do. The season has started and I know you'll enjoy this wonderful piece of fruit from our state! I'd also love nothing more to be able to tell someone a story that this blog post helped generate some business.
Cheers and happy eating!