Spring is the most spectacular time of year here on the farm. After a long slumber through the winter, the trees in the orchard awaken and the buds turn into bright pink flowers, each one a peach to be. When at full peak, it feels almost unreal, as though on a movie set, or some place staged. Yet it happens each year, and each spring we walk through the orchard, stunned, taking in the beauty of it all. And if the fruit sets, then each blossom truly does become a peach. Later in spring, we begin the big job of thinning the young immature green fruit with still soft pits, from the tree, for it is just too much for the tree and branches to bear. The small green fruit can fall to the ground and compost into the soil, or it can be pickled, or even turned into a sweet liqueur called momoshu.
If you are grafting stone fruit trees, changing the variety of an existing tree through a process almost like a transplant, now’s the time. And the branches of the cut tree make stunning arrangements. I keep the blossoms as long as I possibly can.
When we first bought the farm, a customer insisted we watch one of Akira Kurosawa’s shorts in the dream series called “The Peach Orchard.” Through a child’s eye, and with beautiful blossom visuals, you feel the importance of honoring nature. You see the impact that change, in the name of progress, can make. It is breathtaking, and heartbreaking. We try our best to continue the tradition of the farm, and hopefully improve it. The farm is at its best and brightest in spring.
Also, when we first bought the farm, there was an acre of asparagus, down towards Dry Creek. It was conventional though, and we wanted the entire property to be organic, and the asparagus just did not grow on our property organically. The area by the creek is very low, and there is so much moisture. Much to the chagrin of many, we removed the asparagus and actually planted more peach trees. I miss the asparagus, those spears sticking straight up each spring, and I loved working with them. Here is a simple recipe that was handed down to us, so easy to prepare, and so delicious! SD
Roasted Spring Asparagus
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Wash and dry asparagus, and then break them naturally at the stem.
Set on a tray and coat with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt.
Sprinkle with chopped garlic.
Roast for only a few minutes, so they are cooked, but still crisp.
Now sprinkle some peach blossoms and serve.
Flowers as a garnish are a wonderful way to present any dish. I like to put them in salads, drinks, desserts, or atop any course. I pull from our garden or I buy them at the farmers’ market.
Enjoy this glorious spring season. Take a drive or a walk; we really are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.