The little peach tree in my parents’ backyard is easy to overlook. It sits at the edge of a field, not quite part of the lawn and not at all part of the ancient apple orchard. It’s a little scrawny, slightly lopsided, a wallflower amidst the blousy peonies and brazen dahlias. For a couple of years it bore no fruit at all. Last summer it was partially run over by a reversing tractor. I wondered if it would make it through another winter. My mother, on the other hand, never lost faith in the little tree and did what she could to nurture it and coax it into good health. Whatever she did, worked. During my last week in Maine as autumn made its first chilly pronouncements, the peach tree put forth more fruit than we could eat.
And what fruit it was! Beneath the slightly-too-furry skin of each small peach was golden flesh, soft and sweet and perfectly tart. We ate them in granola, made them into crisp, piled them on top of cardamom cake and pancakes. One late morning I decided to marry the fruits of our seemingly endless bounty. I can’t recall ever eating tomatoes and peaches together before but suddenly it made sense. Both fruits, in season and at their best, are juicy, textured, and tantalize the tongue with flavors that shift as you chew, from sweet to acid and back again.
I toasted a few pieces of Tinder Hearth bread (no other bread worth eating if you live in the state of Maine), spread them with a thick layer of ash-rind chevre, and topped them with spicy arugula from the garden, yellow tomatoes and thin slices of peach. Though I am home now in California and without said peach tree, I am not without peaches, tomatoes and very delicious bread. I’ve got this one on repeat. For another week or two, as the east and west coast growing seasons mystically align and the same produce is found most anywhere you go, I recommend eating tomatoes and peaches–together or separately–while you still can. Savor those last bites of summer.