L&T Farms – nectarines and peaches
Thursday night we did a family hike to L&T Farms for U-Pick peaches. We didn’t realize we were heading to U-Pick’s Disneyland. The gorgeous Crimson Nectarines of Independence and the Fuzzy Peaches of Red Haven were ready – and by ready I mean they almost patted you on the shoulder and said, “Pick me!” “
The orchard is immaculate with smooth mowed walkways between the trees, and the saplings that are thinned and pruned in the spring bear fruit so low that you almost have to bend down to pick them. This is great for Teddy, my grandson, who exclaimed enthusiastically over the miracle of every red gold peach and nectarine and plucked his own plate of peaches. The problem is, each fruit is so overwhelming that it’s almost impossible to stop plucking a perfect picture. Carl and I ended up with 30 pounds of fruit!
Farm owners Lindsey Cafferata and Todd Simmons are excellent hosts – they have shaded parking, picnic tables to rest your bones on and a lovely table of freshly picked fruit and veg to buy, if you don’t. don’t feel like picking. . If you decide to indulge yourself, the hours and address are on the LandTfarmschico.com website along with a map – the farm is just outside of town on River Road. You can also follow the farm on Facebook or call 521-5837.
In general, the farm is open Thursday evening and Friday and Saturday morning. This Sunday July 18 is a special customer appreciation morning. From 7:30 am to 1:30 pm and there will be live music, free fishing ice cream and other farm vendors with goods to buy.
So what do you do with a dining table full of succulent perfectly ripe fruit? Peaches and yogurt for breakfast, or slices of peaches on Tin Roof’s buttered sourdough bread, peaches and cottage cheese for lunch, or slices of tomato with slices of fresh mozzarella, a tomato sliced, sliced ââpeaches, mint and a pinch of sea salt.
In the late afternoon, sit on the back porch steps with a peach wine slush – refreshing, cold and uses multiple peaches! If you’re not up for wine, do it with white grape juice – we tried it both ways (for Teddy), and both were excellent. I peeled and cut the peaches in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and frozen them overnight. I used Pinot Grigio and turned off the blender before everything was smooth – stumbling across a piece of frozen peach was a nice surprise.
Peach wine slushies
- 2 cups of cold fruity white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, but not Chardonnay) or white grape juice.
- 2-3 medium peaches, peeled, sliced ââand frozen
- Fresh peaches sliced ââfor serving
directions: In a blender, combine the wine or white grape juice and the peaches. Puree until smooth.
If the mixture is too hot and liquefied, place it in the freezer and stir every 30 minutes until a perfect texture forms. You can make ahead and thaw 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Double the recipe and use the entire bottle of wine to serve 4.
Lindsey and Todd’s favorite peach nectarine recipe is this one for a peach crisp. It is a showcase for the great flavor of the unadorned fruit. I forgot about the ginger and cinnamon and didn’t miss them at all.
Crispy peach nectarine
Recipe by Lindsey Cafferata. Ingredients:
- 5-6 cups sliced ââpeaches and nectarines
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar)
- 1/4 cup flour
- half a stick of unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the filling, combine all the ingredients except the butter and peaches in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers (personal favorite – less dishes to wash), slice butter into topping mixture until evenly distributed. Set the bowl of filling aside.
Slice the fruit into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Fruits can be peeled before slicing, or the skins can be left in place. No need to measure the fruit, slice directly into the baking dish and fill to about 2/3 full.
Sprinkle the filling over the fruit. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes. The fruits will be sparkling and the garnish golden when cooked.
Perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of fresh whipped cream.
My new favorite peach recipe this year is this salad from Southern Living. Peaches, corn and tomatoes are an unlikely but delicious combination – we loved it so much that I made it twice this week!
Tomato, peach and corn salad recipe
- 2 Beefsteak tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
- 1 peach, cut into pieces
- 1 cup of fresh corn kernels (cut into 2 small cobs or 1 large cob of corn)
- Â¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Â¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 ounces of feta, blue or ricotta salata cheese
- Â¼ cup honey dressing (recipe follows)
directions: Combine tomato wedges, diced peaches and corn in medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with honey dressing and toss to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates or serve in 1 large dish. Garnish with feta and sprinkle with black pepper.
Cook’s Notes – A final note from our test kitchen. Make sure to mix all the ingredients together at the last minute and serve immediately, because when the tomatoes steep in the vinegar, additional liquid is released. For more flavor and color, garnish with basil. Recipe from Southern Living, for 4 people.
- Â½ cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 2 teaspoons of chopped red onion or shallot
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
directions: Combine all the ingredients in a clean jar. Cover with a lid and shake until completely combined. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Tonight? Grilled salmon with peach nectarine salsa. This recipe is adapted from “The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm” by Marcy, Nikiko and David Mas Masumoto. The Masumoto Fishing Farm in the Central Valley (Del Rey, southeast of Fresno), was one of the first to grow peaches organically. Chez Panisse was among their first customers, where Alice Waters proudly placed a whole Masumoto peach on a plate and called it dessert. They couldn’t be better than a Red Haven from L and T Farms!
Peach and nectarine salsa
- 2 firm ripe peaches
- 2 nectarines
- Â½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Â½ red bell pepper, diced
- Â½ red onion
- 1 jalapeÃ±o, seeded and diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- Chili powder to taste
- Fresh ground pepper
directions: In a bowl, combine the peaches, nectarines, cilantro, bell pepper, onion and jalapeÃ±o.
Drizzle with lime juice and season to taste with chili powder, S&P. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day.
For the rest of our transportation, I’ll wash, pit and slice the fruit and freeze it for crisps and winter cobblers. These Peach Truck instructions are easy – for nectarines you can skip blanching and peeling – just slice and add lemon juice. I love the way they get a nice, flat bag to keep in the freezer.
Freezing Peaches – Fishing Truck
Freezing peaches is one of the easiest ways to preserve summer flavors. The freezing method also locks in the flavors of fresh peaches, so they’re ready to thaw quickly and bless your taste buds all year round.
For best results, you will need to peel and slice your peaches before freezing them. Removing air from the bag will help prevent freezer burns from forming. Slicing the peaches and tossing them with lemon to keep them from turning brown and a touch of sugar to bring out the juices will help ease this process.
Start with ripe peaches in the trees. These will feel a bit heavier than a firm peach and give slightly to the touch.
Using the tip of a paring knife, cut a small X through the skin of the bottom of the peach, being careful not to dig deep into the flesh. Place the peach in a pot of boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove from boiling water and place directly in an ice bath to stop cooking.
Once cool, use a paring knife to grab the wedge of skin at the base of the X and peel towards the stem. The skin will come on right away!
Once peeled, cut the peach in half, starting at the fold of the peach and running your knife all around. Twist the two halves to free one from the pit, then use the tip of a knife or fork to remove the pit from the remaining side.
Cut each half into 4-8 wedges and place them in a bowl. Mix the juice of 1 lemon for every 8-10 peaches and Â½ teaspoon of sugar for each added peach. The lemon juice will help prevent browning and the sugar will release the juice from the peaches, helping to prevent air pockets when freezing.
After mixing with lemon and sugar, place it in a gallon-sized zippered freezer bag. We suggest you measure your peaches and write the measurement and date on the outside of the bag. You can safely add 6-8 cups of peaches to each bag.
Once the peaches are added to the bag, press down on the bag to release all the air and seal. Place the bag on a small baking sheet or cutting board (make sure it fits in your freezer) and flatten the bag of peaches before moving the board with the peaches to a flat surface in the freezer. Once the peaches are frozen, remove the board and store the peaches in the freezer until needed. Flat bags will help you stack and store multiple bags, while taking up less space in a crowded freezer.