It’s still way to hot to be motivated to cook, but the family must be fed, so I wandered around the farmer’s market today, waiting for inspirationÂ to strike. We’re a third of the way through the market season, which means tomatoes, corn, and peaches are starting to show up. I bought some early tomatoes, Japanese radishes, cucumbers, purple bell peppers, apples, raspberries, Canadian bacon (made from smoked pork tenderloin), some flowers for She Who Must Be Obeyed, and some peaches.
After all these years, I still have no idea how to select peaches. They always wind up too hard or too soft, and we never get to eat them all before having to toss a few. Today I applied my favorite restaurant approach (ask the waiter to recommend a wine to accompany the dinner) to the problem: I asked one of the growers to pick out four peaches for me. It took her a minute to realize what I was asking, which no one had ever asked before. “They’re your peaches,” I explained, “so that makes you the expert. I’ll trust your selection.”
Seeing that her husband was looking on, I added “I know, it’s a moral dilemma. If I picked them myself, I might grab a few that weren’t quite ready but that you want to sell today. But if you are the one doing the choosing, you have to give me the best or I might not come back.” That got a laugh.
No one else was paying attention, so I don;’t think I’ve sown the seeds of a revolution. The market is self-correcting, however, and if buyers started requiring the sellers to do the selecting, they’d say what the Italian vendors at Haymarket have been saying for decades: “Stop & Shop, buddy, Stop & Shop. Now geddoudda here.”
You are not alone with the peach problem. The ripeness window for peaches is very small. And it can be hard to tell by feel. But now you have to tell us: did the vendor actually do any better than you would have on your own?
I won’t be sure until I eat one in a day or so, but I can tel you that she selected peaches I wouldn’t have picked myself.
In my experience, if they smell like peaches, they’re ready to eat.
That’s usually the case, but I also have to factor in the extreme heat, which will soften them more quickly than usual.