We’re so organized it’s almost bewildering. All week long we’ve been going down the checklist helping the kids get ready for camp.
“Sleeping bags?” “Got it, Dad!”
“Flashlight?” “Daaadd! I’ve got it!”
All three of my kids are heading into the Sierras for two weeks. There will be songs, canoeing, archery—it brings back memories of my experience on the Chesapeake Bay at Camp Tockwogh. Sailing, songs, and learning to transition from slow dancing to wild man during “Freebird”—what could be better than that?!
At 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, I’m up and making breakfast while the kids are going through their final checklists. We’re in the car 15 minutes ahead of schedule! We take a last-minute bathroom break. There are tears and hugs. Now we’re at the parking lot waiting for the bus. It’s 9 a.m. Then 9:15. My wife calls the camp. “Camp starts tomorrow?” she says into the phone. We all look at each other. “Who does that?” my daughter asks. “I guess we do,” I say as we start to head back home. “OK, guys,” my wife says, “that was just a drill.” We all start cracking up.
While picking the right moment to eat a peach is like a pick-up from camp, in that you have to be on time, choosing when to pick up a nectarine to eat it is a matter of preference. Peaches and nectarines both ripen after picking; however, where peaches are generally astringent in their under-ripe form, nectarines can be eaten firm. While I prefer nectarines when they have a nice amount of give to them (they are sweetest and juiciest at this stage of ripening), I know many people who like to eat them crisp. Because nectarines can be eaten a bit under-ripe, you can tell a good deal about how a batch of nectarines is going to ripen based on how much sweetness one has when sampling it a bit early.
July begins the height of peach and nectarine enjoyment. Try to see if you can pick up the subtleties of how the fruit aggregates its natural sugar along the seam or at the bottom of the fruit. Varieties change quickly (by the week) at this time of year, and different tastes—such as hints of cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, honey, and others—play into the summer chorus of flavor that sings loudly or quietly onto your palate depending on variety. Check out our Mix pages at fruitguys.com/mix to see what’s happening in your region.
Enjoy and be fruitful!