"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Peach orchard reverie

Stratford peaches in the bag, new ones, a lemon, plus the
essential ingredient of a morning drive into the country.
Peach cobbler season... fresh juicy delicious Stratford peaches from the Edmond Farmer's Market last Saturday. Fourth of July coming up...perhaps not enough for an entire cobbler for about eight people.
I call father-in-law Jay Henry about driving to Harrah to get more peaches from the orchard he's visited for years. He calls and finds the orchard is open at 8 a.m., so I drive across town to get him about 7:15, and off we go, through the morning rush  hour traffic, till we turn off I-35 into the morning sun on 23rd Street....
Into a different world. Yes, Choctaw commuters are passing us heading west to work in OKC. Soon though, the four lane gets quieter, over rolling hills, past places I want to stop and take photos of, but I don't have a camera, and we're heading to peaches.
North on Luther Road, past new houses, into the quiet countryside. Hay fields, soybeans, corn, horses in yards, blackberry orchards, peach orchards. We arrive at the gate just as it's opening, and our tires crunch down the gravel road into the 300 acres of so of orchard on rolling hills. On both sides are peach trees, many of them only a couple of years old, others already picked. Signs mark rows marked  as to varieties...Redskin, Topaz, more than I can remember. A hail storm two years ago devastated the orchard, Jay says, and it's just now recovering.
We stop and ask where to pick, and get directions from teenagers working the stand. Half bushel paper cartons to put our pickings in. $30 if they're full. Most of the peaches we see are small and not ripe, and where we're supposed to pick is a disappointment...hard and not tasty. We see other pickers and stop and ask, and eventually get about a quarter of a bushel...small, just getting ripe.
Not what either of us had envisioned, but they go in the back of the car and we wend our way home through the backroads, past cemeteries, more fields of hay and soybeans and corn and more...a peaceful, rural way of life only minutes from the madness of morning metropolis. Back to his home, and I pick out just a few peaches to add to my cobbler brew. They're smaller than the Stratford, and not quite as tasty, but by 10 a.m. I'm back in Edmond. I slice up a few, licking the juice off my fingers, thinking about cobbler...my recipe and others'. 
I know one essential ingredient has already been added...a morning conversation of memories and sights that will add flavor to the cobbler.

1 comment:

  1. Nice story Clark. A trip into the quieter countryside for fresh fruit is good for the soul.

    Take care, and Happy 4th.

    TK

    ReplyDelete