Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Urban Orchard with Style

You may have been bombing through our neighborhood here in the District of Columbia recently and thought, What's with the shrub with the hairnet?

Well, that wasn't a stylin' crape myrtle you passed. That was our neighborhood peach tree. This year, to keep squirrels (and the occasional pedestrian) from snagging our peaches, we coiffed the whole tree with row cover.

After a couple of weeks under wraps, the unveiling took place over the weekend. Our neighbor who looks after the tree adjudged the fruit ready for picking. We gathered our buckets, assembled our ladders and rolled the drums.

Kids, are you ready for some peaches?

Off came the row cover and in we reached.

The first peach I bit into took me back to my youth. Warm juices running down my chin. Bursts of summer flavor. And right here on our block in the middle of the city. Imagine: growing food on 13th Street! This is even better than the farmer's market...

Here you see our neighbor, John Paul, filling his bucket with fresh peaches. By my estimation, less than half the fruit was fully ripe. Still we harvested several buckets worth--enough for the whole neighborhood, really. We'll come back later in the week for more.

Meanwhile, we hauled our share of peaches home and yesterday my wife turned them into these exquisite 6-inch pies. She plans to distribute them to the neighbors who so graciously have been tolerating all our gardening madness.

Now I'm having a Forest Gump moment. I'm thinking peach ice cream, peach cobbler, peaches and cream...


Joanna said...

Wow ... SO inspiring - especially in a country that doesn't go in for actually gardening the front garden. As you are pretty far north, I wonder if you could, at some point, give us a few details about aspect, cultivar, cultivation, problems (do you get peach leaf curl?). How long has the tree been in? It really is Inspiring with a capital I.

And the pies look great - beginning to think we should be moving to your neighbourhood ... more realistically, doing the same thing here.


Layanee said...

Those little pies look delicious! There is nothing better than a fresh, juicy peach!

Magic Cochin said...

You're winning the neighbours over - who can resist fruit that good!

There's nothing like a bumper harvest of something to get the culinary creativity flowing!

Those pies look so good - on my list of recipes for the bullaces (wild plums) in our hedge - the branches are weighed down with fruit.


Ed Bruske said...

Joanna, we're pretty sure this peach tree is a volunteer. It is growing right up against a curb stone that rises above the sidewalk. So I have no idea what the cultivar is. But we have peaches growing in upstate New York. They're not necessarily a southern tree.

layaneee, you can say that again. There's hardly anything as juicy as a peach either, so we really look forward to them.

magic, the wild plums sound fantastic. I've never seen them.