Southern Delights Appear

July 5th, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

I knew those peaches from a distance. From over 20 feet away when the PriceRight doors slid open, I knew they were from McBee.

License plates can be tricky. Georgia bills itself as the peach state and South Carolina has long grown more peaches, while California trumps everyone.  Let them quibble. What Southerners learned a long time ago is that Mac’s Pride and McLeod Farms labels are worth seeking.

scpeachThey aren’t going to be those mealy west coast peach-like objects or the rot-before-ripen junk. Whether it’s for sloppy hand eating, pies or ice cream, great peaches are treasures.

Sure enough, when I got to the fruit bins at PriceRight, I could smell them before I got close enough to read the Mac’s Pride sticker. I loaded a big bag.

Down there, where they grow serious drupes, this is peach season. So I am left to wonder how a chain store that started in western MA got so savvy about peaches. They have a very limited selection of many items. Most of their produce is not particularly well priced or the highest quality, but they nailed peaches.

My in-laws in Florence, South Carolina would make the trip to McBee to buy baskets of the McLeod’s goodies. They had fine enough peaches down in the PeeDee, but they considered it worth the drive for the best.

I confess that I have had even better peaches. From my childhood in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, the local orchards spoiled me. The perfect apples as well as peaches grew on the mountain slopes outside of Romney. My grandfather had known the orchard people for a half century and they sold or gave him their very best.  Those fruits were perfectly ripe and could out-smell his cigar-saturated car upholstery on the drive home. Of course, they were not meant to travel more than than five miles or so and would never have been shipped by train and truck to maybe ripen in a grocery store.

I have to say, my little find on River Street in Hyde Park was a delightful flashback to pretty damn good peaches. I do believe this is a pie day…and there are others to await us in a ripening bowl.

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2 Responses

  1. Betsy Ford says:

    Mmm, yeah! We’re pigging out on Lexington County peaches about now. The frustration is that the grocery stores are filled with Georgia and California peaches. What are they THINKING? The few SC peaches in stores are the ones that were picked for shipping, therefore not tree-ripened. I stop at any roadside truck to buy straight from the farmer. Sadly, the roadside trucks are harder to find every year.

  2. Harrumpher says:

    Yes, indeed. Some things (politicians excepted,of course) that S.C. does particularly well as peaches, pecans and pork BBQ.

    Oh, and I had forgotten the tales upcountry folk told me of Groucho Marx. It went that he invested most of his fortune in peach orchards there. His business manager sold them on the sly and disappeared with the money. That’s enough to make one grouchy.

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