Plentiful peaches arrive early this season
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
6/20/12 at 2:30 AM
The peach harvest has arrived early in Oklahoma, bringing bushels of the fragrant, sweet fruit to our local stores and fruit stands.
And at this rate, peach crops should peak just in time for the annual Porter Peach Festival, said Kent Livesay, owner of the state's largest peach orchard, Livesay Orchards in Porter.
"The peach harvest started about two to three weeks earlier than normal," Livesay said. "It has been a little dry, though. We have some irrigation, but it would benefit us to get some rain."
Like many farmers, Livesay is glad to see bountiful crops this year after losing some crops last year during the freeze.
They started harvesting peaches May 18, many days ahead of the average start around June 10, he said.
"For early peaches, the flavor has been exceptionally good," Livesay said.
Livesay grows about 40 different varieties of peaches that are harvested at different times so the crops extend into the fall.
"We are already picking Redhaven, and we just picked the very first of the freestone varieties," Livesay said.
And the early harvest is also good news for the festival.
"Some years the peak in production is the first of August and the festival is the third Saturday in July. There is a possibility that production will peak at the same time as the festival," Livesay said. "We hope it works out that way."
And because the harvest was early, Livesay has allowed customers to start picking their own peaches early, too. Saturday was the first day the orchards were open to peach picking.
"We started with the Redhavens. It is a good idea to call ahead to make sure we have a good supply," Livesay said.
SALAD WITH PEACHES AND GOAT CHEESE
1 clove garlic
scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Japanese rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 peach on the firm side of ripe
6 cups arugula or field greens
about 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped chives
4 teaspoons crumbled goat cheese
additional freshly ground black pepper, optional
1. Make the vinaigrette. Bash the garlic clove with the side of a knife. You don't want to pulverize it - just break it up into big chunks and expose the insides. Remove skins and place garlic in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add salt and mash the garlic into it with the tines of a fork. Add oil and mash the garlic some more with the fork - this releases the garlic juices into the oil. Add vinegar and pepper. Beat with the fork to combine flavors and set aside. The longer you let it sit, the more pronounced the garlic taste will be.
2. When you're ready to use the vinaigrette, beat again with fork to combine ingredients. Then either fish out as much of the garlic as you can with the fork or use the fork tine to hold back the garlic as you drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Some little bits of garlic will end up in the salad either way.
3. Slice the peach in half and remove pit. Cut each half into 6 slices and place in medium bowl. Drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over the peach slices and gently stir to coat. Set aside.
4. Place arugula in salad bowl. Toss with the rest of the vinaigrette to coat all the leaves. Divide onto two plates. Divide peaches onto plates. Sprinkle each with chives and goat cheese. Grind a little extra pepper over each, if you like.
- adapted from blue-kitchen.com
PORTER PEACH FESTIVAL
The 46th annual Porter Peach Festival will be July 19-21.
It includes a peach cobbler contest, a 5k run, a car show and mud races.
For more information, go to tulsaworld.com/porterpeaches
39232 E. 231st St. South, Porter
Mon-Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sundays 1-5 p.m.
cash or checks, only
Original Print Headline: Peaches should be plentiful at harvest
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Peach crops are expected to peak just in time for the annual Porter Peach Festival. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World file
Peaches add a sweet touch to a salad. Tulsa World file
Peach crops are bountiful this year at Livesay Orchard. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World file