Updated: Aug 9, 2022
I love to eat high quality food and have enjoyed many memorable meals in a wide variety of restaurants over the years. But for sheer gustatory goodness and sensual pleasure, nothing compares to a Texas Hill Country peach, picked and eaten at the height of ripeness in the middle of summer. One of my all-time favorite foodie memories occurred at the Marburger Farms Pick-Your-Own Orchard in Fredricksburg, where I enjoyed freestone peaches plucked right off the tree; large, golden orange-red orbs, bursting with sun-warmed, sweet juices and luscious, libidinous flesh.
When Zet and I got here, they gave us each a bushel basket and directed us toward the section of trees where the peaches are at their prime today. We’ve made our way over to the far side of the designated section where there are fewer customers, in part because it’s a hundred yards further to walk, in part because it on the east side of the orchard, where we’re standing in the blazing summer sun. But it's so worth it! I pick a few beauties, then encounter one that looks and smells so terrific, it practically demands to be eaten immediately. There are signs posted all over the orchard, saying things like “Please don’t eat peaches before paying for them” or “Eating without paying is stealing!” I vow to myself I’ll eat just this one, and then tell the cashier to charge me for it when we get to the checkout stand. I wipe it on my sleeve and take a big bite, the sweet, warm juice tasting like the mythical nectar of the gods would. It’s extravagantly juicy, the ambrosial liquid flows down my chin; two bites later, the front of my t-shirt is soaked, and I’m lost in the flood, swept downstream by a primal urge toward pleasure that’s infinitely stronger than my puny willpower.
I immediately find and pluck a second, perfect-looking peach, start to wipe it on my sleeve, but before I can bite into it, I suddenly remember a story that my friend, David, told me several years ago, about eating a peach in Paris. He was there as a foreign exchange student, spending a semester in France, living with a kind and generous host family who fed him very well. One of his first nights there, after another delicious 4-course meal, a basket of fruit was passed for dessert. He chose a peach which looked and tasted wonderful; he bit into it with sheer delight and had almost finished eating it a few bites later when he noticed that the table had grown very quiet, and several family members were staring at him. The grandfather, seated at the head of the table, looked somewhat disdainful as he muttered “peche Americain.” He then picked a peach from the basket, placed it on his dessert plate, and demonstrated how to use the back side of a knife to slowly massage the fuzzy skin, causing it to sag and wrinkle, loosening it from the flesh. The skin slipped off easily with knife and fork, then he cut the fruit into bite sized pieces. Lifting a slice to his mouth with the fork, he smiled and proclaimed, “peche Parisienne!” David was embarrassed, but also grateful to discover how easy it can be to peel a peach, and how much better it tastes and feels to eat peaches without their fuzzy skin.
I don’t have a knife with me here in the orchard, but I do have my wallet, so I pluck out a credit card and use it to good effect, loosening and removing the skin easily, then proceed to have a truly orgasmic experience eating this singularly sensual, warm, juicy piece of heaven on earth. Yum!
It’s been years since that happened, but I can still taste it clearly, feel the juice dribbling down my chin. I don’t know why we haven’t been back to Marburger’s since then but after reliving and writing about this experience, I’m thinking we should definitely go there next week. After all, it’s the peak season and only a two-hour drive…