Stolen fruit, goes the saying, is sweetest. I beg to differ. These peaches win that prize.
Okay, I get the concept. Mango snatched from the neighbour’s yard. Shouting “Who’s that over there?” then snagging a forkful of somebody’s pie. The gloriousness of an hour scheduled for work, but savoured in bed. Actual pleasure, heightened by sneaking, and the novelty of the taboo.
Not all taboo, however, equals sweet. Take the typical peach. Despite their innocent reputation (read: fuzziness), conventional peaches are apparently one of the most sprayed crops; the Environmental Working Group ranks them the fourth most sprayed fruit, making them one best to buy organic if you possibly can. Peaches = pesticides. Big time. Who knew?
Confession: I struggle with organic. Quality should trump penny-pinching, though that’s hard to practice it when you’re strapped for cash; if it’s a choice between organic food for two days or regular produce for the week, right now, I pick the latter or face the prospect of nibbling air and furniture legs for five days. There are times when I check out what a store’s selling as organic, and find it wilted, hard-ridden, and long-shipped. No, it is not worth paying the earth for an organic kumquat shipped in from Australia on a rowboat.
What is worthwhile is food that’s organic, local, affordable, and absolutely divine. Like these peaches.
- These peaches are worthwhile not only because they’re entirely delicious and organic, but also because I have strong ties with them. As an apartment dweller, I have zero tree-growing space of my own (though I’m thankful for two community garden plots; hello potatoes, carrots, peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli…but I grow distracted) so these are not the fruits of my labour. But they did grow at a farm five minutes away from my place. Not only that, I got to see them grow, snuggled next to their downy brethren, bunched up on the branch, thick-packed fuzzy promises tinged orange and red. I coveted their sweetness all August.
At $3 for 6, these weren’t the cheapest peaches in the world. They’re little guys, but their flavour is concentrated and sweet, and, at 50 cents apiece, they were an accessible and entirely worthwhile treat. And they drew flavour from the same sun I sit in, nutrients from the same ground I walk on. I know their beginning, their growing, and their harvesting. That makes their ending all the sweeter.