The Great Summer Peach Fail of 2013

27 Sep

On a hot Saturday morning in late July, my wife and I walked down to the local farmers market. We came upon a busy stand selling one thing: large, perfectly ripe, locally grown peaches. I slid in line and began to study the options. How many peaches were we able to haul home without a car?

The options and prices were confusing: a peck, a half peck, a bushel?

Five dollars for a half peck, that’s like, two big peaches. Isn’t that kind of high? How much more are we willing to pay for local peaches?

To make things worse, we had brought our puppy who was attracting attention. Every kid in the city was petting her and she was acting a bit flustered, as was I.

A Peckel of bushes? A Bush full of peckers?

Then I spotted a large box of slightly inferior peaches under the table. Written on the box: Seconds, $10. My bargain radar–my bardar–went off. At “above table” prices this big box would cost forty bucks. I squatted and inspected a couple.

Hmm, minimal squishyness. A young girl behind the table noticed and said the peaches were not rotten or anything, just bruised or otherwise inferior to the peaches above the table.

I threw down my ten triumphantly. Ha suckers! I wondered why all these people ignored the Bargain Of The Day. I knew I could cut ’em up and freeze most of it, and Jennifer said she could make peach preserves. In fact, she even mentioned she was excited about it. It’s going to be so good!

I imagined myself spreading deliciously sweet preserves on many slices of toast. And we’d have peach smoothies throughout the fall and into the winter.

Yes, life was good.

The heaviness of our bargain box combined with the brutal heat made the walk home uncomfortable. I arrived a sweaty mess, but I was riding a peach fuzz buzz so that made everything okay.

Immediately, I got to work slicing the peaches. I grabbed a small bowl to hold the icky spots, but it quickly proved too small. I replaced it with a larger one.

As I made my way down into the bowels of the box, my peach high was wearing off. I found entire peaches that couldn’t be saved, completely gooey and icky. Fruit flies zipped from the box and into my face. With each toss into the discard pile I imagined a meter like a speedometer with the needle moving incrementally from “bargain” to “rip-off.”

I despise rotten produce. Once in awhile, in a bag of spinach, I’ll find a slimy, black piece among all the nice looking, green leaves. I seriously have to suppress gagging. I have to beat back this urge to toss the whole freakin’ bag because it’s been contaminated by this rot. So, at this point, I’m hesitant about reaching into this big box of sketchy peaches.

And it’s not my nature to stomp down to the vendor demanding a refund. I can be assertive, but I knew the young lady thought the peaches were in decent shape. They were probably much firmer when they were placed into the box. And then maybe they sat there for a couple of days. Who knows.

Anyway, I put some in the refrigerator, some in the freezer, and I took two miserable trips to the compost pile for a wet peach dump.

Jennifer took what she needed for the preserves, and later I found it simmering on the stove. Let me say here that I don’t know a thing about making preserves. I didn’t even know it involved heat.

Before I poke fun of her, I have to admit that I also abandon ideas and put off projects. In June I wrote about ripping the dryer apart, finding the broken part, and ordering a replacement. I still haven’t fixed it. We have a replacement part for our dishwasher that I have not installed, so I’m still washing dishes by hand.

I’m not here to make fun of myself, so let’s get back to the brown peach stew on the stove that would soon be preserves. Later in the day I noticed it had been transferred to the fridge.

Let me remind you that this was late July.

It hasn’t been touched since.

PeachMess

Though I look at it every day, I haven’t said a word about it to Jennifer. Normally, I’d be all sarcastic like “Are you saving that for NEXT summer?” I’m afraid to open it. But even if I could muster the courage, I’m kind of curious to see how long it stays there. Heck, maybe it’s supposed to age like wine. As I said, I’m clueless.

If you add up what we tossed into the yard with what we wasted for the preserves, the bargain box of second-rate peaches turned out to be a disaster, a totally shitty deal.

If you didn’t think it could get any worse, the frozen peach chunks are so stuck together that it takes a chainsaw to dislodge enough for a small smoothie. I’m almost certain I’ll lose a finger this fall screwing with the massive peach iceberg.

Peach season next year I’m staying above the table.

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