I have a method when shopping at the farmer's market: taste, taste, taste. A self interested method, I know. I taste my way from top to bottom, comparing as I go, and then buy afterwards. This past week, the first stall I tasted at had excellent peaches and plums. The couple of others I stopped by after didn't come close, and with my meter running, I was resigned to buy those peaches and plums. Until that voice. That chirpy, sing song, French voice. All of a sudden the market was oversaturated with green and red and my auburn hair converted into a black bob. Yann Tiersan's piano started to waft through the air and my mind turned to cracking creme brulee. Yes, I'm fantasizing about being in Amelie. If you haven't seen it, see it. It's an adorable frenchy french french film, with accordion playing, traveling garden gnomes, and ghost who only appears in photobooths...or so we think. This is all to say that the farmer behind a booth of peaches spoke out to me with that lilting, purring French accent, and I was immediately lured in. She held up a fat peach and insisted I try it, but warned "You might want to step back," due to its juiciness. The farmer's market is filled with hyperbole ("Sweetest corn on the planet!!" "Best Blood Oranges EVER!!!") so I took her gallic advice with a grain of fleur de sel. As I bit in, a spurt of juice poured out, and I did, in fact, jump back. She started laughing, probably at the look on my face, and proceeded to tell me about how these peaches were exactly like the ones from her childhood in France. Golden water balloons gushing out juice with the first bite. Your chin and shirt would not be safe. I immediately bought one for my afternoon snack, a Rio Oso Gem Peach.
The Rio Oso Gem peach was developed in Rio Oso, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1926. Big, golden with a deep red blush; a honey sweetness with lovely peachy acidicty; and a firm, chewable texture that makes it perfect for noshing on, makes this my favorite peach of the summer. It's apparently a tough peach to grow, easily bruising, falling off the tree when it's ripe, so expect to find it exclusively at farmer's markets, or you could always buy one yourself (I might just do that actually). Enjoy!