Last weekend, my family and I harvested our “adopted” Le Grand nectarine and Elberta peach trees at the Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey, CA (20 minutes south of Fresno). Mas, Marcy, Nikiko and Korio started the Adopt-A-Tree program to sell fruit, but also as a teaching tool. We’ve participated since 2006, and I can tell you that eight years provides quite an education about what a small farmer encounters.
Every year is different. Some years, the buttery Elbertas have weighed almost a pound each (you can read more about Elberta peaches on my KCRW Good Food guest post). This year, not so much. In fact, Mas is thinking about severely pruning our tree this winter to give it a good rest.
On the other hand, this is a banner year for the extraordinarily flavorful, but temperamental, Le Grand nectarines. Bountiful, heavy, and crimson-and-gold, their joy is fleeting, as this variety is prone to something called brown rot. It’s no big deal, but it’s a race to the finish to eat, cook, preserve, and indulge in their glory. Luckily, the Elberta peaches lingering in my “staging area” are slow ripening, making them a good, somewhat patient partner for their more flamboyant counterpart.
Although I share the two trees with cookbook author Kristine Kidd, share half of my peach half with food fotog Staci Valentine (who took the enticing pictures for my e-book and the Masumoto’s new cookbook), and give boxes and boxes away, I am DROWNING in fruit. I’m not complaining, but several hundred pounds is A LOT of fruit. A peach or nectarine a day on cereal takes me only so far.
Most days this week and next, I’ll be in the kitchen making crisps, galettes, pies, and preserves that use pounds and pounds of fruit at a time. But last night, after a tip-off from Kristine, I used a mere pound and a half of nectarines to make this super easy, luscious ice cream from David Leibovitz‘ book, The Perfect Scoop.