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Thursday, August 27, 2015

IT'S PEACHY KEEN AT BUTTERMILK CREEK FARM--ALAMANCE COUNTY, NC

Don't they look juicy?
Despite the organizing still to do at our new house in North Carolina, Rob and I got into the car to explore what will soon be our new surroundings.  Country roads lined with working farms are extraordinarily beautiful and relaxing, and that’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

It is early August, and peaches are hanging ripe for the picking.  All around the area are peach festivals, but these festivals will have to wait until next year.  But we have to eat, don’t we?  So we head to Buttermilk Creek Farm, a family-owned business.  The farm grows and sells blackberries, blueberries, and peaches.  You’ll soon hear why knowing all three is important.

Today Rob and I are there for the peaches.  In Warwick, we also go to the orchards, and we buy our peaches from Pennings on the outskirts of the village.  The hardest part is deciding whether to go for the yellow or the white peaches.  They’re both delicious.

If you’re used to supermarket peaches, you’ve never had the almost unearthly delight of having to bend forward as you bite into a ripe peach you’ve simply twisted off the stem into your hand.  You bend in order to keep that sweet-smelling, peachy juice from running down your chin and on to your shirt.  That’s the way it is when you twist a peach from its branch and bite past the tickling fuzz into the heart of it.  You can see why it was impossible not to go peach picking when we had the chance.

Being new-comers to the area, we take Pat and Tom’s sage advice and head to Buttermilk Creek Farm, a family owned, pick your own fruit farm in Burlington, North Carolina, and conveniently near us. 

To get there, we drive past tobacco fields and farms, across bridges spanning Lake Cammack where we hope to sail and fish very soon.  We probably take the long way as we are just getting the lay of the land, and early August is so pretty.  There’s a wonderful serenity in driving country roads. I don’t think I have ever seen tobacco growing before, and on one farm, men were in the fields snipping the flowers from the leafy plants. 
These plants are tobacco.  Quite beautiful, aren't they?

Buttermilk farm grows blackberries, blueberries, and peaches, and we picked a few peaches—we haven’t moved in yet, so there is little more we can do than eat them fresh.  Just wait until next year.

It is just nice walking up and down the rows, squeezing a peach here and there until we find one that is just right.  We actually pick peaches that will sit on our counter for a day or two before being perfectly ready.  That is the advice from the man in charge whom we meet there.  

When I looked for some online information on Buttermilk Creek Farm, there was a uTube video. I believe I found the same friendly man, Steve Smith, who owns the farm and, if you watch the video, you’ll learn more about it.   Here is the link to the video:  Buttermilk Creek Farm

But we feel very welcomed here, and before we leave with the few peaches for which Steve refused payment, by the way, we did have a chat and learned a little of his impression of the people who come to pick—particularly his berries. 

He told us that it appears that transplanted Northerners go wild over the blueberries while Southerners seem to prefer the blackberries.  We guaranteed that we would be back for both.  I started making jams last year, and I think it will be wonderful.  By the way, this past season peaches were $1.50 a pound and berries were $3.75 a pound.  I think I shall be very busy.

He was so nice and friendly, just as everyone we’ve met has been.  And Pat and Tom treated us to some brandied peaches over vanilla ice cream.  Yes, my friends, we will be back.
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