Cats and Peaches

Share this post

By Chris Mittelstaedt

When my grandfather was in his 80s, weak and suffering through the New Orleans summer heat, a dark yellow cat appeared at his back door in Metairie, Louisiana. The house was raised up on cinder blocks and had a lawn of firm, sharp St. Augustine grass, which grows out of the sandy Mississippi silt in yards in that part of the world.

The cat would sit on the cool gray concrete steps leading to the house from the backyard and rest in the shade of the massive pecan tree. Next to it was a small peach tree that my grandfather had planted when my sister Erin was born. My grandmother didn't like the idea of a stray in the house and refused the cat entry no matter how much he cried.

Finally, when my grandmother was out getting her hair done and didn't have a say in the matter, my grandfather opened the slightly bent aluminum screen door to let the cat in. My grandfather was a gentle, kind man with a checkered past--he never spoke about his bootlegging days in the 1930s or the pugilist instincts of his youth - the sepia remnants of which we found in photos hidden in drawers or corners of the attic. I knew him as the gentle ex-drugstore owner who helped people get through whatever was ailing them.

My grandfather called the cat "Crisco" and the dog "stupid," which seemed appropriate since the Pekingese enjoyed exclusively attacking the tender feet of those under the age of 12. The cat would sit on my grandfather's bed, in which he was spending more and more time, and groom himself. In a few weeks the cat had transformed its coat from dark yellow to pure white.

I often think that Crisco should have been called "Peach." Peaches originated in China. White peaches have much less acid and therefore are sweeter than yellow ones. Yellow peach varieties get their wonderful tart and sweet flavor from its ratio of acids to sugars.

To pick a ripe peach, give a gentle squeeze; it should yield to the touch and have a sweet aroma. I have found from my years of picking, handling, and tasting peaches that they seem to have concentrated sweetness in the areas with a darker blush.

During the summer, peach varieties change every week so go to to see what is in your regional box. Enjoy and be fruitful!


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent The FruitLife articles:

Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018
How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018

More recent articles:

Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019
How to prepare Ataulfo mango
April 4, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.