There’s a peach for everyone

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, June 18, 2009

My favorite memory of the Chilton County Peach Festival is the smell of peaches that fills the air during the annual Peach Parade and auction.

Long before the start of the festival each year, I usually find myself at one of our local markets buying a basket of peaches, mainly because covering stories about peaches makes me crave the famous fruits.

While talking to Bobby Boozer, our area horticulturalist, a few days ago, I was amazed at the sheer number of peach varieties there are in existence. It takes a pretty thick book to list them all, with about two varieties per page.

Growing up in Chilton County, I remember my grandparents kept a small orchard of peaches on their property. There were peaches of yellow and white flesh; juicy ones and firm ones; and fruits of various sizes and colors.

It took me a while to figure out what my perfect peach was, but everybody has a favorite. I prefer the freestone varieties, and I like them so juicy that you have to slurp them to keep from getting wet.

I tell people I like to “drink” my peaches rather than eat them.

One of the things we have done at The Advertiser is poll people about their favorite way to use a peach. First, there are endless recipes that call for Chilton County peaches (you will get the chance to try many of these at the annual Peach Cook-Off this Saturday at Thorsby First Baptist Church. The cook-off begins at 10 a.m.)

Once you have exhausted all the recipes, there are other ways of enjoying a Chilton County peach. You could have a peach pit-spitting contest. You could get some rotten fruit and smash it with a hammer (although it would be better if you ate it before it got to that point). The possibilities are endless.

However you look at it, there’s a peach for everyone. And if you happen to not like peaches, consider the alternatives.

The Chilton County peach is more than a fruit. It’s an experience.