I love peaches.
I do so for two reasons.
One, my sister Judy has been called Peaches for more than half a century. Everyone knows her as Peaches. I am the only person in the world that calls her Judy. But, Peaches it is.
And, I love her. She is my only sister. She is my kid sister. She is four years younger than I am.
To be honest, my love for my sister has grown over the years. Growing up, I knew she was my sister, but I frankly did not appreciate her value. As I saw it, she had several limitations. She was too young to be able to play catch with me or to play a competitive game of tennis or golf with me. she did not play hockey. And she was a girl.
But what I have realized over the last six or so decades is that she is a total sweetheart. The nicest person you will ever meet. the best evidence of that is that she, along with her husband Harold, has put up with me as her brother for all these years.
That is the first reason why I love Peaches.
The second reason I love peaches is that when I bite into a ripe peach my mouth waters. I crave a peach’s sweetness. Oh my goodness.
This was brought home to me again today when I made my weekly visit to Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. I always go there to get my fresh fruits and vegetables. The open air market is not only the number one tourist attraction in Seattle, but it feels like home to me. for a period of time years ago I used to live in an apartment above the Market. I have been going to the same fruit and vegetable stand in the market for more than 40 years. They know me and I know them.
Today Mike said to me “Neil, we have the best peaches I have ever seen. They are out of this world.” Now, this is something, because I get peaches every week.
I immediately walk over to the peaches and take a look. My mouth drops. They look phenomenal. I want to grab a bag and put all the peaches in it.
My first question to Mike was where did these peaches come from. He told me that they came from the Zanol Orchards in Orondo Washington. Orondo has less than 2,000 inhabitants. It is located on the banks of the mighty Columbia River. The town has a 76 gas station, which also serves as a market of sorts. It has an elementary school, a post office and Wikipedia reports that it had a Subway restaurant, but it closed in 2018.
I also ask about the growing season. Peaches grow primarily from mid May to mid September. July and August are peak season.
What makes peaches so special, I ask myself. I just love the way they taste – so, so, so sweet. I also love the way they feel – so furry and fuzzy. I love their colors – reddish yellow. And I love the way they look – so heart shaped. I like to eat peaches raw, but they can be broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed.
Peaches (prunus persica in Latin) originated some 8,000 years ago in China. China remains the number one producer of peaches in the world by a longshot. China produces 14.4 million tons of peaches in a year compared to Spain (1.5 million tons), Italy (1.4), the USA (.9) and Greece (.8), the next biggest growers of peaches in the world.
Within the United States even though Georgia is the Peach State, California grows 475,000 tons of peaches each year. That compares to South Carolina which grows 67,400 tons, Georgia with 24,800 tons, Pennsylvania with 16,650 tons, Colorado with 14,500 tons, Michigan with 11,500 tons, New Jersey with 9,000 tons, and Washington State with 7,280 tons of peaches each year.
What has surprised me is to discover how many health benefits there are from eating peaches. One medium sized peach (5.4 ounces or 150 grams) provides approximately 58 calories and the following nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 14 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 17% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin A: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
- Niacin: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 5% of DV
- Copper: 5% of the DV
- Manganese: 5% of the DV
In addition, peaches have beneficial plant components and anti-oxidants that help protect the body from aging and diseases. Other benefits include:
- Protecting your skin
- Reducing allergy symptoms
- Aiding digestion
- Reducing blood sugar levels
- Protecting against certain toxins
- Boosting immunity
- Improving heart health
- Preventing certain types of cancer
Drilling down on a couple of these health benefits, peaches are full of polyphenols, a category of anti-oxidants which reduce and limit the spread of certain cancer cells, especially breast cancer. Women, according to some studies, who consume 2-3 peaches a day have a 41% lower risk of breast cancer.
In addition, peaches improve your digestion in two ways. Of the 2 grams of fiber in a peach, one of them is what is called a soluble fiber, which provides food for beneficial bacterias in your intestines. The second fiber in a typical peach is an insoluble one. This insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, and it helps move food through your gut, reducing the likelihood of constipation.
I apologize if this may be more information that you really wanted to know about peaches.
Bottom line, peaches are healthy for you.
I love Peaches.