|Blossoming peach with wren house at spring|
The website Gardenia describes the Reliance peach tree as follows: "Noted for its cold-hardiness, Prunus persica 'Reliance' is a vigorous and fast-growing peach tree adorned with profuse soft pink blossoms in early-mid spring. They are followed by a heavy crop of medium-sized, freestone, red-blushed yellow fruits in mid-late summer. The soft yellow flesh has a good flavor."
This spring our peach tree was spared from late frosts, so an abundance of blossoms led to an abundance of fruit set and harvest. Usually harvest follows a pattern. First I pick early maturing fruit that we eat for breakfast, added to muesli or yogurt. Then as more fruit matures, we begin a one- or two-week cycle of baking peach cobblers or peach crisps three or four times a week. It's hard to imagine, even for me who has lived the reality, but after a couple of weeks of frequent crisps and cobblers, we get a little tired of the bounty. Then I begin harvesting a bowl of peaches every morning, cutting them up, and then freezing them in around six-cup batches for peach pies. At the end of this season, I had put aside enough peaches for six pies.
Last week, Sandy and I talked about our wedding anniversary. "Don't get me a card or gift," she said. "I just want to do something together."
"How about we bake a peach pie?"
"Oh! I'd forgotten about the peaches! Perfect!"
The peaches thawed to a generous, delicious portion just right for a deep dish pie. Sandy used a beautiful etched, clear-glass pie plate given to us by my mother, and the pie was probably the best-tasting peach pie I've ever eaten, the flavors full yet subtle and the crust light and flaky. Of course, it wasn't just how the pie tasted; it was also how Sandy and I spent our time together, how we shared this experience over an entire year of enjoying and caring for our peach tree.
It's a temptation to make a big symbolic gesture with that pie regarding our marriage: pure, nurturing, a product of shared values and energy. I'll keep it simple, though. It's a good pie, and it's a good marriage. In these times of challenge, I'm looking forward to baking one home-grown peach pie a month to help us get through the winter.
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