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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where Can I Buy the Perfect Peach?

Posted by on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 1:55 PM

It is supposedly peach season. I have waited all year for this season, choking down unripe bananas and apple after apple after apple, biding my time for the perfect peach. That time is now.

But in the past week, I have bought four yellow peaches from three fancy-assed grocery stores and one fancy-assed farmers market, and all of them have been disappointing—crunchy, or worse, mealy.


Do not tell me to drive to eastern Washington. That isn't going to happen. I need a fresh peach I can walk to. I need a fresh peach I can stomach. I need a fresh peach with a money-back guarantee not to be goddamn mealy.

If you have a secret peach-buying store in town, or if there's some trick to sniffing out ripe peaches that I don't know about, please, please, please let me know. I cannot stomach another banana.


Comments (54) RSS

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MacCrocodile 1
Walk to eastern Washington. It'll make that peach you finally get all the more rewarding.

I've always heard that the way you can tell a peach is good is if it grabs you by the nose as you walk by. If you have to hold it up to your face to smell it, it's no good.
Posted by MacCrocodile on August 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM · Report this
theophrastus 2
one could do worse than to pay a metropolitan market for one of their fancy "Peach-o-Rama™" peaches. ( in cash and say you work for the Times)
Posted by theophrastus on August 1, 2013 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 4
The world's best peaches grow in Colorado's west slope region, especially the orchards of Palisade. But that's even farther from Seattle than Eastern Washington, so never mind.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 1, 2013 at 2:05 PM · Report this
At the Capitol Hill farmer's market, the woman who runs the stand right at the corner of SCCC will help you pick out peaches for perfect ripeness at the moment you want to eat them (I usually buy them a few days out). So far, she's been dead-on and the peaches have been marvelous.
Posted by Erica Tarrant on August 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
Top foods has Pence orchard peaches in, look for a warm background color behind the red blush- should look a warm autumnal orange. The skin should stick to the flesh and not wrinkle if pressed sideways under gentle pressure-white peaches only taste like sugar, if your into that look for those flat Saturn peaches, only buy if the give under gentle pressure
Posted by Headlikeahole on August 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
Sosio's fruit stand in Pike Place Market. I've been eating their OMG peaches for 2 weeks.
Posted by teddy b on August 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Hands-down best peaches (and pretty much all fruit) I've ever had was from a roadside stand along US-97 in Peshastin. But considering you don't want to go to eastern WA, central WA is probably out, too.

So the best peach I've ever had in Seattle was from a roadside fruit stand along E Madison Street at the top of the hill heading down to Madison Park (around 33rd Ave E). Then again, it was a hot summer day and I'd just climbed back up the hill on my bike so my opinion is probably biased, but the thing was the size of a softball, fully organic and the perfect amount of ripe. I would've bought a bushel on the spot except I had no means to transport it home.

Have you tried Rising Sun in Roosevelt (65th & 15th)? They were my go-to spot for fruit when I was living in the U-District.
Posted by pipedream on August 1, 2013 at 2:08 PM · Report this
@8 Central Washington IS Eastern Washington
Posted by 4est on August 1, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this
lark 10
There's a fellow with a pick up truck who parks on Sundays during the summer on Madison at/or round 33rd not far from Lake Washington Blvd. He sells delicious giant peaches (and cherries) by the bag (5 lb?). One can't miss him as he's usually the only guy parked eastbound on the left side near that giant estate. Check him out. He also has some stories to tell.
Posted by lark on August 1, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 11
Peaches? Son, this is plum country.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on August 1, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
there have been amazing peaches at the Pike Place Market stand in the very middle for quite a while now
Posted by genevieve on August 1, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
treacle 13
I have some über-delicious plums in my back yard, and the apricots from there yesterday were the best I've ever had. No peaches here though. I like nectarines, and those are at Mad. Market.
Posted by treacle on August 1, 2013 at 2:13 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 14
I'll 2nd Metrosexual Market as a good source.

Also, learn to wait till they're ripe.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 1, 2013 at 2:14 PM · Report this
Dougsf 15
I'm no fruit market expert, but it's possible the peaches you seek are being sold elsewhere because of this season's low yields in the rest of the country.

Or you could have just had an unlucky day of peach hunting.
Posted by Dougsf on August 1, 2013 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 16
@2, one of my terrible peaches came from Metropolitan Market! I didn't want to point fingers but I was bitterly disappointed.

These are all good suggestions. My hope has been renewed! Also, Anna is shouting "RAMA FARM" at me, and "U DISTRICT" so if anyone else is in my same boat, there's another suggestion that Anna is simply too lazy to type up.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on August 1, 2013 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 17
I can tell if a peach is good if there is red anywhere around the stem.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on August 1, 2013 at 2:15 PM · Report this
I have to admit that we got a flat of peaches from Costco last week and they were freaking delicious.
Posted by Levislade on August 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Report this
According to this NY Times article, a rainy summer in the southeast has led to large, beautiful, but flavorless peaches. I don't suppose that is the problem in the Pacific northwest though.
Posted by minderbender on August 1, 2013 at 2:22 PM · Report this
@18--yup, Costco. I have had 3 flats of these things and every single peach was wonderful! They are not WA. peaches, but if you want a money back guarantee they are your best bet. You'll be gorging on 'em too 'cause you'll get a dozen of these large beauties.
Posted by Beth on August 1, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
Womyn2me 21
I got 4 white peaches at Top Banana in Ballard and made ice cream with them. sweet and delicious
Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\ on August 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
@16, Anna is right. Rama Farm at the U-District farmers' market has the best peaches. They won't be in until 8/10, but they are so worth the wait.
Posted by giantladysquirrels on August 1, 2013 at 2:45 PM · Report this
camlux 23
Sosio's Fruit in the PIke Place Market have great peaches when in season. They can be amazing.
Posted by camlux on August 1, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
@4, completely agree, but it's no help for Cienna.

Surely somebody in Eastern Washington ships them to Seattle, right? In Colorado, Western Slope peaches are shipped to the Front Range the day they're picked.

Tips, which somebody will probably disagree with:
* Put hard peaches in a brown paper bag (don't overcrowd them) and leave sitting on your counter until they soften a bit
* Never put a peach in the refrigerator, they get mealy
* As mentioned above, go to a farmer's market, ask vendor for ripe ones
Posted by rainbird on August 1, 2013 at 3:09 PM · Report this
@9, where you from california? central is central, CWU Ellensburg. eastern is eastern, EWU cheney. get it? unless you refer to central as middle eastern washington. i live in seattle and have a home in cle elum (central wa) and folks from c'lum will attest to the difference. any-ways...Thorpe Fruitstand, Doughnut Peaches $15 a box kick ass!!! go bobcats!
Posted by juan gabriel on August 1, 2013 at 3:11 PM · Report this
Seconding #7 above. Sosios will, like the market woman noted in another post, pick you peaches that will be best on the day you want to eat them.
Posted by disenfranchised on August 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
My peach is the ripest.
Posted by Faber on August 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM · Report this
They're ripe and delicious down at the market.
Posted by treehugger on August 1, 2013 at 3:19 PM · Report this
#5 Spot on. I always buy peaches from that stand and she has never let me down. Broadway Sunday farmers market ftw. And just 2 blocks from the Stranger offices.
Posted by M. Wells on August 1, 2013 at 3:25 PM · Report this
schmacky 30
@26: This is the Stranger we're talking about. Bellevue is eastern Washington to them.
Posted by schmacky on August 1, 2013 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 31
@ 25, I think someone is thinking about Washington in political terms, not geographic. (No, that someone isn't you.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Report this
I've been buying them from Madison Market for weeks now and they've been consistently great. The key, though, is that you have to let them sit for about 3 days after you buy them. If you eat 'em before that they'll be crunchy and shitty; more than 5ish days and they'll go bad.
Posted by tiodan on August 1, 2013 at 3:29 PM · Report this
Fnarf 33
Yeah, the secret isn't where, it's when. Wait til it's ripe. REALLY ripe. If you wait too long (they turn really fast when they go), just put them in the blender and make a smoothie out of them (or popsicles FUCK YEAH).
Posted by Fnarf on August 1, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 34
What @1 said. Try near Wenatchee.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 1, 2013 at 3:52 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 35
Farmers market followed by in no praticular order Ballard Market, PCC, Top Banana and Rising Sun, and that stand on rainier s few blocks south of the 90
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on August 1, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
sirkowski 36
You will only get perfect peaches if peaches is your native tree. Collect your native fruits regularly and you'll eventually get a perfect fruit. Plant it to harvest more perfect fruits and sell them at a friend's town where this is not a native fruit, you'll get 3000 bells per fruit.
Posted by sirkowski on August 1, 2013 at 4:55 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 37
Just be aware that I-90 is shut down from 1:15 to 2:40 pm this Friday, Saturday and Sunday if you're heading east, for the air show.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 1, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
Another vote for Rama Farm at the U-district farmer's market. And they're the nicest people too! Grouse Mt. Farm, at the same market, is a close second.
Posted by en on August 1, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
skjaere 39
If you're convenient to north Seattle, the Central Market at 155th and Aurora always has great produce.
Posted by skjaere on August 1, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
I'd vote for Tonnemaker Farms' peaches. Their cherries are kinda weak this year, but their peaches and apricots are out of this world. We had enough apricots to make jam, but the peaches were all et out of hand. Fantastic. And they are organic. And far less expensive than Rama's.
Posted by Missliss on August 1, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
@4: I just bought three pounds of Palisades peaches. It's been a spotty year, out there, so when I see 'em, I buy 'em. I think the ripest of the batch I bought will be perfect tomorrow. My hopes are high.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on August 1, 2013 at 8:44 PM · Report this
Rama said they would have a few this sat, get there b4 9:00.
Posted by Darcie on August 1, 2013 at 8:53 PM · Report this
Market on the Beacon hill near the VA... Pikes Place.... Smell good?? tastes good!!!
Posted by pupuguru on August 1, 2013 at 9:22 PM · Report this
@41 - Good plan. The Western Slope peaches were hit hard by the late freeze. We're still seeing clingstone, which show up earlier. I'm hoping the freestone types won't be so limited.

Best Colorado orchards readily available in Boulder/Denver, in my opinion: Ela Family Farms and C&R.

First Fruits of Paonia was the only orchard to have sweet cherries this year. Their Bings were really good, but the Rainiers were fantastic.

Peach Festival August 17 in Lafayette. They're promising 30,000 pounds of organic peaches from Morton's.
Posted by rainbird on August 1, 2013 at 9:29 PM · Report this
My peach tree in Ravenna is kicking out maybe the best peaches I've ever had. Can't tell you why it was planted here or how the peaches could be so good
Posted by iviola on August 1, 2013 at 9:42 PM · Report this
One thing I'll add about Sosio's awesomeness.

I learned years ago to not fumble through the produce tapping on melons. They are the professionals and if you ask them to 'pick me out a good one,' you're respecting their craft and you will always get the best they have.

Let the pros do their job.

Love Sosio's.
Posted by CPN on August 1, 2013 at 10:43 PM · Report this
All those delicious peaches were in Los Angeles about a month ago. Sorry for you loss.
Posted by fotoeve on August 2, 2013 at 12:31 AM · Report this
Mr.Designer 49
South Jersey.
Posted by Mr.Designer on August 2, 2013 at 3:31 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 50
@ 45, sounds like I need to go to Lafayette on the 17th. Anyway, I'm not surprised to hear that the crop might not be good this year. I will be surprised if anything grew in our side. The frosts wiped out all the fruit tree buds in town, as you know. Although I have seen apples on my neighbor's apple tree. I don't believe we'll see anything like 2011's bumper crop...
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 2, 2013 at 5:41 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 51
Peach Report: There's a big crate of only slightly brown peaches sitting in the alley between 2nd and 3rd and Virginia downtown. Walkable! And free.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on August 2, 2013 at 8:27 AM · Report this
kk in seattle 52
@8 and @10 are correct. The guy with a truck on Madison has the best. Last year I bought a box of them and told him I was going to make a pie. He gave me five huge peaches for free that had small bruises and said to use those.Sold!
Posted by kk in seattle on August 2, 2013 at 8:30 AM · Report this
@50 Yeah, anything that was supposed to flower early didn't. I didn't even get any lilacs this year. Western Slope was hit hard, with no apricots, virtually no cherries. The folks I've spoken to say that they'll have enough peaches for us here in Colorado, but not enough to ship elsewhere.

In other news, they've started picking Rocky Ford Cantaloupes, should be available nowish.
Posted by rainbird on August 2, 2013 at 9:05 AM · Report this
54, it's the Wildcats, if you're referring to CWU mascot pride. Also, Verhey's Peaches from the Royal Slope area are ripe as of a couple of days ago, and I think they make westside trips to deliver. They have a Facebook page, and you can inquire there. Not organic, but so good! I canned / preserved about 40 lbs. last year.
Posted by Sarahsuperstar on August 2, 2013 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Rama Farms, definitely.
Saturday Farmer's Market in Twisp.
Worth the drive!
Posted by Fire Chief on August 3, 2013 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Sosio's is crap. They always give me two bad pieces of fruit/veg at the bottom of the bag, and one good one on top. Haven't shopped there in years.

That said, buy Collin's farm peaches at your farmer's market, or Pence's peaches at Met Mart. Do NOT buy Frog Hollow peaches at Met Mart - they're great in California, but shipped green up here and they're always sour.

Pence or Collins. That's all you have to remember.
Posted by anita772 on August 5, 2013 at 11:49 AM · Report this

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