Eat a Peach

On road trips, I’m decidedly not the navigator. My boyfriend likes to pore over maps like he’s reading a novel; I look at them bemusedly as a sea of pretty dots and squiggles, pieces of art somehow but not really legible. And while he braces himself uncomfortably behind the wheel, confronting each turn as a stressful calculation, I ease into the driver’s seat and will happily cruise the highways until the gas tank nears empty. We each have our role, and really, it’s better that way.

Over the long weekend, we secured ourselves into the seatbelts of Bridget Honda, each in our rightful place, and headed toward West Virginia.

The destination was Purcellville, or to be more specific, the peach orchard therein called Crooked Run. (Purcellville is out near Berryville, Virginia, which has got to bode well for the produce.) At the bustling farmers’ market in Falls Church that Saturday morning, crates had been piled high with peaches, but I wanted to get out of town and pick my own. Out of a real tree. And the glory of a three-day weekend is that you can do ridiculously inefficient things like this and still have plenty of time to get your laundry done.

So off toward Berryville we went. It was only appropriate, then, that the blackberry crop was bearing fruit just a little bit earlier than planned, and we got to take home a quart of those too. But the peaches were destined to be the stars of the show. They were intensely flavorful and ultra-ripe, which made them perfect candidates for “putting up” in more shelf-stable versions of themselves. I’m so excited to share the results of those peach experiments with you!

But on that Saturday, the focus was on the drive. That Saturday was all about exploring the edges of the state. It was about the untamed forest that surrounded the orchard, and the meandering trail that lead you to and from the peach trees—carrying empty buckets on the way in, and heavy ones on the way out. It was about the ridiculous amount of Blue Oyster Cult music playing on the radio that morning, and about the North Carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches that beckoned on the way home. It was about getting right up in the face of the season and seeing what it had to offer.

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