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Friday, July 21, 2017

PEACHY KEEN AT BURLINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA'S BUTTERMILK CREEK FARM


Buttermilk Creek Farm in Burlington, North Carolina is open.  Peaches. Raspberries. Blueberries.  The nicest people you would ever want to meet.  We are going to make jam!

We first went there two years ago when we were house hunting.  We couldn’t be too ambitious in our picking then because we were heading back to New York and a load of peaches was just not in the cards. 

Buttermilk Creek Farm is beautiful: row upon row of peaches ripening throughout the season.  Butterflies, bees, green leaves, and yellow and red ripe peaches, or ripening peaches. 

Row upon row of peach trees making the air fragrant and the walk beautiful

Row upon row of green-leafed blueberry bushes with stalks bent over, heavy with fruit and beckoning your fingers which, somehow, can’t resist popping one (or two or more) into your mouth, marveling at the warm, tart taste that you never find in a grocery store. 

You can see the unripened blueberries.
Berry pickers were here bright and early.

Row upon row of blackberry bushes with fruit in all stages of ripening, so your eyes are treated to an array of colors long before you find the plump blackberry,

Picking fresh fruit right off the bush, vine, or tree, is a remarkable treat simply because most of us don’t have that opportunity often.  If you’ve never done it, you don’t realize that a ripe, sun-warmed peach or blackberry or blueberry does not taste like the fruits we buy in the stores that have been picked long before they are ripe and then ripen as they are shipped and then stocked on our shelves.  Eat a tree-ripened peach right in the grove where the air smells of peach, and feel the juice drip down your chin.  Pretty incredible.


While we visited Buttermilk Creek Farm on the first day it opened this year, there was sadness as well.  This past winter, as you probably remember, there was frost and storms.  Buttermilk Creek Farm lost almost 90% of its crop.  Trees were damaged as well.  They opened anyway so the fruits that were undamaged would be picked and eaten.  That’s a fact of life on the farm.  Good years and bad years with the hope that the good years outnumber the bad.

The owner, who we met on our first visit, looked at the fruit we picked which is sold by the pound.  As he put our fruit on his scale, he picked out a few peaches that didn’t look quite perfect to him.  “We don’t sell damaged goods here,” he said.  After weighing the fruit and quoting the price, he put the peaches back in our box.  “They’ll be fine,” he said.  But he did not charge us for them.  Principles.

He also told us an interesting story—from his perspective.  He can tell Northern transplants from Southerners by the berries they pick.  Northerners like blueberries, and he makes sure he has them.  But Southerners like blackberries and have plenty of recipes for them.  Can’t say this is gospel but can say this is one man’s feelings.  At any rate, this year we went for blackberries.

It was a wonderful experience.  If you are in the state while peaches are in season, visit one of the many farms.  You don’t have to get a lot, but enjoy the rich experience of picking from a tree and eating the warm, sun-ripened, globe of sweet delight.  And if you want to experiment, there's always peach jam to make.  It's yummy!!

Our first attempt at canning peach jam.
Edible immediately.
But some to save.
Absolutely yummy.
We're thinking of making more!




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