The other day I had some lovely south Georgia freestone peaches. Right now, I’m eating my way through some tasty clingstones, grown on an in-town otherwise-ornamental peachtree.
My dad always grew freestones; although I see several places on the web claim that freestones tend to have a harder flesh, Dad’s freestones were always super-juicy. I remember coming home from school in the fall and heading out to the trees directly from the school bus, and selecting an especially huge, red specimen, then bending over to eat it so the juice dripped harmlessly off my chin into the grass instead of on my school clothes**.
Despite the fact that Georgia continues to be (proudly, in some quarters) nicknamed “The Peach State*,” the USDA statistics record that for some years the state with the biggest peach crop has been California. In 2004, CA grew 76% of the US peach crop, up from 75% in 2003.
Peaches are from China. They weren’t in the New World until the arrival of European-types. Thus, finding peach pits on an archaeological site of indeterminant age in the Southeast, for example, means it dates to the historic period.
* Sam Henry Rumph, of Macon County, developed a peach he named Elberta for his wife. Apparently, this lead to the state taking the Peach State moniker.
** Other than the obvious uniforms, do kids even have “school clothes” any more?