My grandfather was a Placer County peach grower, and from as early as I can remember, July was all about peaches. His River Ranch, now under the waters of Folsom Lake, produced thousands of boxes of this delectable fruit. On the walls of Newcastle Produce are photos of the peach harvest and of my great grandmother drying Elbertas. At home my grandmother and mom lovingly canned hundreds more peaches so that we could enjoy the bounty all year long.
Placer County still produces wonderful tree-ripe peaches, and now is the time to savor them. Peaches are a superb fruit to enjoy out of hand. You can also enjoy them made into pies and cobblers. (See our Recipe Archive online for Lois’ Favorite Peach Cobbler Recipe.) For a super easy Peach Melba Shortcake, split an NP Vanilla Bean Scone and top with sliced peaches, vanilla ice cream, and Fran’s Raspberry Sauce, yum!
My long-time neighbor, Bill Tudsbury, son of another Placer County peach grower, shared his favorite peach recipe with me. He takes tree-ripe peaches and blends them with vanilla ice cream and peach brandy to make a grown-up peach milk shake. It’s a good way to end a hot July day!
Brentwood Diamonds Sweet Corn
Corn is king in Brentwood! The area’s rich Delta soils, warm days and cool nights enhance the sugars in the corn and combine to produce high quality ears with an unmistakably sweet flavor.
Brentwood Diamonds is a collaboration of five local growers. Together they produce over 2 million boxes of sweet ears annually. Hand harvesting begins around 2 am and the day’s harvest is packed, ice injected and shipped within hours to ensure the freshest corn available. The sugars in an ear of corn start converting to starches as soon as the corn is picked, so it’s true that the sooner corn is eaten the better it tastes. Each of these five growers is also committed to growing only non-GMO corn varieties, a plus for many discriminating consumers.
Sweet corn on the cob is synonymous with summer—roasted or grilled in the husk, or quickly steamed and served with butter and seasoned with salt, pepper, and maybe a dash of cayenne and a squeeze of lime. It can also be blanched, then cut from the cob to add sweetness to salads and vegetable medleys. Try adding a handful to cornbread, risotto, pastas, pizza or polenta, or make a creamy corn chowder or add it to a summer minestrone.