Dietribes: Peachy Keene


"¢Â Pull up a chair at the Peach Pit and learn a few facts about my home state's signature fruit. Except ... though Georgia is called the Peach State, we are actually third in US peach production (behind California and South Carolina). Undeterred, for New Years Atlanta still hosts an annual Peach Drop, and the state does boast the sweetest peaches to be found.

"¢Â In fact, Georgia has another peachy claim to fame: the grounds of the former Berckmans Nursery, also known as Fruitland Nursery, in Augusta, Ga., is now the site of the Augusta National Golf Club, home to the annual Masters Tournament. Berckmans became famous for introducing new fruit varieties that were more suitable for growing in southern climates. He developed or improved many types of peaches and eventually became known as the "Father of Peach Culture" across the South.

"¢ How can you tell if a peach is ripe? Just hold it! It's ripe if it's soft to the touch when you cup your hand around the fruit. You can't judge by the color of the fruit because different varieties have different colored skin and flesh -- some yellow, some white, some pinkish, some redder in color.

"¢Â Peach is always a marketable choice - In the 1980s , Peachtree Software, an Atlanta-based computer software company scented its advertising and product brochures to smell like peaches. (Actually they smelled more like a sweet, powdered drink). As far as fruity fortune goes, Super Mario's Princess Peach ranked #15 on Forbes Fictional 15 in 2007 with a net worth of $1.3 billion.

"¢ Eat a peach! Dame Nellie Melba, the Australian opera singer, gave her name not only to this dessert but also to Melba toast. The famous chef Auguste Escoffier of the Savoy saw her perform at Covent Garden in 1894 and was so impressed, the following day he created Peach Melba: peaches, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce.

"¢ You may know more about The Rockford Peaches than you think -- only two of the original four teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League played all 12 years of the league's existence.  (The Rockford Peaches were characterized in "A League of their Own."  The Peaches won the Championship in 1945,1948 and 1949 "“ but not in 1943, as shown in the movie)

"¢Â If you have a hard time eating healthy food, you can try tricking your brain (maybe) with these Donut peaches. In the same vein as "square watermelons," they are flat!

"¢Â John and the Not-So-Giant Peach: JFK once received his likeness carved onto a peach pit. And some other presidents were fond of peaches (and not just Jimmy Carter) -- the Presidents of the United States, for instance, with that crazy song "Peaches." You know the one!

"¢Â I have to admit, though I like peach-flavored things (and aromas!) I'm not a fan of actual peaches (maybe that's why the nickname "Peachy Keene" never happened). I should be deported from my state! What about you, Flossers - how do you consume this juicy fruit? And Happy Cinco de Mayo! To keep in theme with this post though: Bellinis, anyone?

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"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.