Immortality can be achieved by eating peaches from Queen Mother of the West, Xiangmu’s orchard, according to Chinese legend.
Even today, peaches are symbols of longevity in China.
A venture to Xiangmu’s orchard isn't necessary for immaculate peaches, since they can be found as close as New Hampshire Avenue at Heyser Farms. Other local farm stands and markets, too, have recently started selling local peaches and, word is, it’s a good crop.
While immortality may not be attainable for us, good health is. Peaches are a solid source of complex carbohydrates.
According to the cookbook, Eat Well and Live Longer, by the editors of the Consumer Guide with the help of The American Dietetic Association, complex carbohydrates allow our bodies to maintain energy over an extended period of time, while simple sugars, like those found in candy bars, lead to a quick sugar high and potential crash. Peaches are also high in Vitamin C, iron, potassium and antioxidants.
Mike Heyser of Heyser Farms, said that he started picking his peaches around July 4. Heyser grows about 30 varieties of peaches and this diversity enables him to sell them until mid-September.
The first variety he harvested was the Erly Red Fre, which is an old fashioned white peach. The next variety to come on board is the Sentry, which is a yellow peach developed in Beltsville. The difference between the white peaches and the yellow peaches, Heyser explained, is that the white peaches cling more to the seed and are really good for eating plain, while the yellow peaches separate from the pit easier and are better for cooking.
Next, will be the yellow Harbelle, which was developed in Canada, followed by the white Sugar May, a new variety that Heyser said has less acid and tastes sugary sweet.
Heyser explained that more heat and dryness leads to more sugar in the fruit, so the fruit gets sweeter as the summer progresses, but the quality starts to go down once September rolls around.
Heyser’s favorite peach is the Sun High peach, which comes out in mid-August. It may not be the prettiest peach, he said, but it’s the best for canning and freezing.
Gigi Goin, who organizes the Briggs Chaney Farmers' and Artisans' Market, said they'll host a special "Peach Day" on July 30. Venders will give free peaches to customers as thank you gifts for their purchases.