Peach Juice: Memories of Summer in the Darkness of a COVID-Infused January

A fruit can be bad, or ok, or fine or wonderful, or everything in the universe at the moment that it meets the mouth.  A great peach is my favorite fruit.  A bad peach is inedible.

One scorching-hot August day, next to Maryhill State Park, Jean and I came upon a u-pick peach orchard.  The peaches were huge. The peaches were orangy crimson. They looked picture-perfect.  When pressed, the flesh gave just so. But one never knows, does one? Not until the first bite.

Locally Grown Maryhill Peaches from Gunkel Orchards

We picked a basketful.  Perhaps 20 of the largest, orangiest, crimsonyist specimens.  Paid the farmer’s son for the privilege. Washed a couple of our haul from a nearby water hose, and bit in.

The juice squirted from my mouth… exploding out of its fuzzy confinement. The taste, a sublime blending of sweet and tart, took me to the heavens.  I was living the Zen hot dog vendor order joke – make me “one with everything.” 

 It’s nuts, really, but if I could have a choice of my last sentient moment on earth, I would take memories of sitting next to someone I love, with a searing sun beating down on us, adjacent to a peach orchard overlooking Mt. Hood and the Columbia River, and splattering warm peach juice over my face, neck and chest from that first spectacular bite. 

9 thoughts on “Peach Juice: Memories of Summer in the Darkness of a COVID-Infused January

  1. Dear Daniel, I love this juicy peach piece, and it brings to mind a peach adventure of my own. When I was about 26 and living in the Bay Area in the mid 70s, a group of friends and myself decided to go out to the Delta of the Sacramento River and pick peaches. When we got there, we were told the peaches weren’t ripe yet. What were we to do? Somehow we found a farm with ripe watermelons. So we got a couple of watermelons, threw them on the ground and ate the broken pieces much in the same manner as you and Jean ate those life transforming peaches.Shelley Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone

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  2. Hey Daniel.

    I know you originally wrote this a while back, but I enjoyed it all over again. Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, so guess what I’m buying at the grocery store tomorrow?

    Thanks for the smiles.

    Love to you and Jean.

    Cathy

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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  3. Daniel,
    I especially like the poetic imagery of the last sentence in your posting.

    Marco and I explored the Columbia Gorge for our honeymoon (gasp! that was almost 30 years ago!). One of our stops was Maryhill. I remember the faux stonehendge and looking out over the gorge. Are there still herds of wild peacocks roaming the grounds of Maryhill and squaking?

    TGI 2021 and we have a new president!

    Andrea

    ________________________________

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  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/peaches-california-climate-change.html
    [https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/08/25/opinion/sunday/25Pawel1/25Pawel1-facebookJumbo.jpg?year=2019&h=550&w=1050&sig=0x52ccddb7c6cd1f106177358e940ba7af]
    Opinion | The Peaches Are Sweet, but Growing Them Isn’t – The New York Times
    The essay prompted an outpouring that persuaded Mr. Masumoto to hold on to his Sun Crest trees and unleashed a cult following for peaches that became featured on the menu of restaurants like …
    http://www.nytimes.com
    I read his book several years ago and loved it. Your posting reminded me of how much I enjoyed his book (as well as a good fresh peach).

    Andrea

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  5. Here’s information about the book if you want to order it from the library or purchase:

    [Epitaph for A Peach]
    Epitaph for A Peach
    Four Seasons on My Family Farm
    Masumoto, David Mas
    Book – 1995 | 1st ed

    “A lyrical, sensuous and thoroughly engrossing memoir of one critical year in the life of an organic peach farmer, Epitaph for a Peach is “a delightful narrative . . . with poetic flair and a sense of humor” (Library Journal). Line drawings.”

    * Full Record

    Publisher:San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, c1995
    Edition:1st ed
    ISBN:9780062510259 (pbk. : alk. paper)
    0062510258 (pbk. : alk. paper)
    006251024X (alk. paper)
    Branch Call Number:634.2584 MAS
    Characteristics:233 p. : ill. ; 21 cm

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    1. Thank you, Andrea for the recommendation. And it also hadn’t even dawned on my that the peach topic might have inadvertently come to the fore due to the Georgia senate races!

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