August is an exciting time in our Produce Department because it is peak season for Washington peaches, which means we have big, perfectly ripe peaches from a beloved local producer, Collins Family Orchards.
The Collins family uses two methods that help set their peaches apart in terms of quality: intensive pruning and tree-ripening. They prune their trees and thin the fruit set extensively because their goal is quality, not quantity. This allows the peaches to grow unusually large without scarring. It also creates air flow around the fruit which helps it ripen evenly, preventing soft spots.
They leave their fruit on the tree until the last possible moment, unlike California or even many local peaches. That means you will find them in the store at their peak ripeness. Clea in our Produce Department says that our produce workers treat the peaches like baby chicks to ensure that they reach you in the most pristine condition possible.
Collins Family Orchards is a fourth generation family farm in Selah, WA, on the eastern side of the mountains just above the Yakima Valley. They started over 100 years ago as strictly an apple orchard, but had their eyes opened up to the benefits of diversification by getting involved in farmers markets. They now grow a huge variety of apples, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and cherries, which they sell at 14 farmers markets and to 700 CSA members in addition to wholesaling them to us.
Third generation farmer Calvin Collins and fourth generation farmer Brian Collins believe in healthy and sustainable growing practices, for which they use organic fertilizers, seaweed, and fish oils. For pest control they use organic insecticide - "Entrust". This keeps their fruit, farm land, and employees healthy and happy for many seasons to come!
Try These Tasty Peach Recipes
Peaches & Cream from our own Shelby J.
Crispy Peach Cobbler from Smitten Kitchen
Frozen Peach Cocktails from Serious Eats
Grilled Mint Julep Peaches from Food52
Vanilla Peach Pops from Love & Lemons
Date: Monday July 31, 2017
Category: Washington Food
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