I brought my lunch to work yesterday and was eating in my office, but I made a beeline for the break room sink once I got to my peach. One bite and I knew my desk would have been a sticky mess had I stayed.
There’s something about a ripe peach that is sublime. It’s sweet and delicious and just screams summer. It’s the only thing I regularly eat hunched over the kitchen sink, because when you find a good one, there’s no way to prevent the juice from dribbling down your arm.
And really, what other food can you eat standing over a sink without looking like a madman? Can you imagine digging into a plate of spaghetti and meatballs or cutting into a ribeye steak like that? Maybe a bowl of cereal would be socially acceptable, but if you’re doing that to avoid dirtying dishes, what’s the point? I suppose you could dump your cereal into the sink and fill it with milk, but good god, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!
Even other fruit wouldn’t make sense. An apple? Not juicy. A banana? Pointless. Watermelon? Perhaps (but gross).
When we moved to Rapid City in 2018, we quickly discovered Colorado peaches. More precisely, Palisade peaches. I had no idea these were even a “thing”; the only crop I really associate with Colorado is green and skunky and would surely inspire a Nextdoor post from delusional ol’ Adele. But it turns out Palisade peaches have quite the reputation.
According to an article on ColoradoInfo.com, Colorado peaches are most famously grown in the town of Palisade, and they are known for being extra juicy and extra sweet, thanks to the long sunny days and cool summer nights in Colorado, which help all those delicious fruity sugars develop.
The window is short; you can usually only find them for about six weeks, either at the farmers market or random roadside stands.
Speaking of, during my recent trip to Madison, WI, I was driving through town and passed a throng of people standing in line beside a covered table in a parking lot. The line was so long — at least 50 deep, if not more — it stretched an entire city block and wrapped halfway down the adjoining sidewalk. Curious to see what all the fuss was about, I slowed down. A handwritten sign advertised Georgia peaches.
Can’t say I’ve ever had one, but clearly, all those Wisconsinites were fans, judging by their willingness to stand under the blazing hot sun and wilting humidity for heaven knows how long so they could bring a few home. It seems like a stereotype perpetuated by all those Georgia license plates, but then again, so is Wisconsin cheese. I wonder if Georgia peaches hold up to the hype the way the cheddar and muenster and Monterey jack in America’s Dairyland do.
It’s the second week of August, which means the Sturgis Rally is in full swing.
I don’t hate Rally itself. We’ve gone before and had a good time. But for most western South Dakota locals — at least those who don’t ride Harleys — it’s annoying, if not an outright pain in the ass. Unless you like seeing motorcycles take over your town and don’t mind their incessant drone all day long. Even though Rapid City is 28.5 miles south of Sturgis, it’s not like all those bikers just park themselves up there for 10 days. They like to get out and ride. My office is located a stone’s throw from the interstate, and worse, at the same exit as a Harley-Davidson dealership. The noise is nonstop. Same for Tara, who works in the heart of downtown. Hell, even just driving home, they’re a constant presence.
Plus, they weave in and out of traffic. Make lanes where none exist. Cut you off just for sport. And look smug while doing it.
In the past, we’ve timed weekend getaways to coincide with Rally. Out of town = out of sight = out of mind. But that didn’t work out this year. Some enterprising locals turn lemons into lemonade by renting their houses out to bikers when they skedaddle. Great way to turn a profit, I guess, but I for one don’t want a bunch of (gr)easy riders taking up residence in Casa MarTar. I don’t need money that badly.
Last weekend, we just stayed home. Luckily, the weather was perfect. Partly cloudy, in the 70s, with a nice, good soaking rain after dark on Saturday. This immediately followed an eight-day stretch of 90°+ temperatures, and once Monday rolled around, the hot weather was back. But what a glorious interlude! And Tara’s garden is loving the heat.
It’s that time of year where she’s going out to the garden every day and returning with a basket full of goodness.
Rally may be an inconvenience, but at least the second week of August isn’t entirely without redemption.
Have you ever had a Georgia peach, and if so, does it live up to the hype? Is there a regional food item you’ve tried that you’ve found disappointing? What is a must-have food I should try when visiting your town?