Life Lessons from a Peach

I am genetically programmed to love peaches.  Really.  I am.

Eight generations of my family are buried in Weatherford, Texas, a small town renowned for their peaches.  They grow six varieties of peaches that come ripe throughout the summer like waves of fuzzy infantrymen.  I love peaches and Weatherford so very much that I even have made the trek to the Parker County Peach festival.  And yes, it is as amazing as it sounds.

Peach Julip

Peach Julep from the Parker County Peach Festival

To say that I am a peach snob is an understatement of the greatest magnitude.  I judge peaches on their color, texture, firmness and, of course, smell.  I scrutinize each piece of fruit as if it were a crown jewel…which it kind of is, metaphorically at least.

After years of dedicated peach snobbery, here are the lessons I’ve gleaned.

1. Accept No Substitutes.
Do not buy peaches in winter! Yes, I know it’s summer in Chile, but peaches are not meant to travel that far.  They’re meant to be picked ripe and eaten quickly.  The end.  I don’t even buy domestic peaches until after July 4.

2. If a Peach Doesn’t Smell Good When It’s Under Ripe, It will NEVER Be Good.
I think this applies to so many areas of life.  When something is bad from the beginning, it will not ripen into something good.  It will always be sub-par.  The guy who treats you bad on your first date, who ignores you or pressures you or makes fun of your appearance will never ripen into a good husband.  And a flavorless peach will always be a flavorless peach, even if it softens over time.

3. Don’t Try Hoarding.  They Will Not Last.
Confession: too much of my favorite fruit goes bad before I eat it.  Not because I forget about it and not because I’m excessively wasteful.  I want to keep my peaches as long as possible and stretch their goodness out over days.  This does not work.

Perfectly ripe watermelon ferments (and it is a terrible smell).  My favorite fruit – fresh figs – shrivel up like too-wet toes.  And peaches rot.  Like all good things – the milky smell of infants, perfect sunsets and your grandmother’s wisdom – they all disappear too quickly.

4. Don’t Ruin a Good Thing
Canned peaches in syrup? Sacrilege!