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mail order peaches


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Hi all,

great site, very informative. I tried doing a search on this topic but had a little trouble with the search mechanism (so feel free to point me to another earlier thread).

I was wondering if anyone orders peaches/other stone fruits through the mail, and whether there were any recommendations.

Specific type of peach, time of year, specific vendor, anything. I used to make a trip to georgia every year and would stop at a roadside stand for regular and white peaches that blew away anything I could find here (in North Carolina). But this year I'm not going to be able to make it down there and don't want to resign myself to a year of yucky peaches.

thanks,

Ben

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We've had a few threads dealing with mail order fruit, but none specifically about peaches.

Here are a few sources I found through Google, has anyone had any experience with these online farms?

1-800-277-3224 - Lane Packing Southern Orchard

1-800-732-2442 - Dickey Farms

1-888-423-7374 - Pearson Farms

These are just in the order that I found them on the web and I have no experience with any of these companies.

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Nancy,

Looks like a good site. Do you have a preference when it comes to the multitude of peach varieties they offer? And can I say how jealous I am of California fruit? I expected North Carolina to be good, or at least better than Ohio, boy was I ever wrong.

thanks,

Ben

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Several years ago Saveur had an article on a source for mail order white peaches. I ordered them and they were astounding and astoundingly expensive. One dozen peaches for $50 delivered to me in NJ. Over $4 a peach. The cost of Fedex delivery was about half of the total.

Now this was great fruit, but not so great that it justified the price. We can get great peaches and other stone fruits in the summer here in NJ for about a tenth of that price. Having said that, I will dig thru my Saveur back issues and see if I can find the source. I will post it tomorrow if I find it.

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  • 3 years later...
The best peaches I've ever tasted have come from Frog Hollow Farm here in Northern California (Brentwood, to be exact.) They sell their fresh fruit and fruit chutneys and conserves at a number of Farmers Markets and online at the following link:

Frog Hollow Farm

haven't tried the peaches, but can vouch for the nectarines. i received a box over the weekend and have been enjoying perfectly ripe, round, fleshy fruit all week. at night, i eat one alone, over the sink, and in the morning, i cut up and stir into plain 0% fage greek yogurt. no need to add sugar or honey. i also enjoyed frog hollow's bing cherries in may. again, perfectly ripe, sweet-tart fruit. i know this place is expensive, but sometimes i'd rather pay more for fruit that i know is going to be perfect than to pay less repeatedly for fruit that's just so so.

if anyone has tried frog hollow's pastries, i'd love to hear feedback.

frog hollow farm

888-779-4511

Edited by bethala (log)

can't believe it's not butter? i can.

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The best peaches I've ever tasted have come from Frog Hollow Farm here in Northern California (Brentwood, to be exact.) They sell their fresh fruit and fruit chutneys and conserves at a number of Farmers Markets and online at the following link:

Frog Hollow Farm

haven't tried the peaches, but can vouch for the nectarines. i received a box over the weekend and have been enjoying perfectly ripe, round, fleshy fruit all week. at night, i eat one alone, over the sink, and in the morning, i cut up and stir into plain 0% fage greek yogurt. no need to add sugar or honey. i also enjoyed frog hollow's bing cherries in may. again, perfectly ripe, sweet-tart fruit. i know this place is expensive, but sometimes i'd rather pay more for fruit that i know is going to be perfect than to pay less repeatedly for fruit that's just so so.

if anyone has tried frog hollow's pastries, i'd love to hear feedback.

frog hollow farm

888-779-4511

Though expensive, all their fruit is superb as are their pastries. Check out this thread.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Even this year? Thus far, I've been disappointed with the local peaches and some of the ones shipped from Georgia that I've tried. In an exchange with Ling in Vancouver, I've heard similarly and just assumed that the weather during this growing season is to blame. The flavor is not as intense.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Though expensive, all their fruit is superb as are their pastries. Check out this thread.

doc, thanks. i totally missed that frog hollow thread. from reading it, it seems as if frog hollow has improved its product over the last few years, with better fruit and better packaging for mailing. both my cherries and nectarines arrived thoroughly cushioned with nary a blemish. looking forward to trying the pastries when the summer fruits run out.

i'll also add that i completely agree with russ parsons' statement from the frog hollow thread: "but i don't understand people who don't blink at $8 desserts complaining about a spectacular $2 peach." (even though now it's more like a $4 peach.)

can't believe it's not butter? i can.

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There was an article on Frog Hollow peaches in Gastronomica magazine last year that inspired me to order them.

These peaches have been mentioned on several other eGullet threads. I can't figure out a way to link to them, but if you enter "Frog Hollow" into [Google Search] "eGullet" you'll find them.

SB (they were good) :smile:

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Ok, I'm sorry, but as a good Southern girl, I have to throw in my 2 cents' worth and say that I've never eaten a California peach that I thought ---well, I won't say they weren't fit to eat,----let's just say I've always found Southern peaches to be better. Lane Orchards in Ft. Valley Georgia grow some of the best peaches in the country, and I'm sure they could ship you some fine fruit. I've been buying their peaches at our local Publix----having been to the orchard as a child, I was thrilled to see their label! I once received a box of the most gorgeous Western-grown peaches from Harry and David, but was sorely disappointed to find them kind of like some people I've known---a pretty face with nought behind it. :raz: Although gorgeous to behold, they were mealy and somewhat tasteless. Try Lane, I'll bet you won't be disappointed (unless it's too late for this season!)

I may be in Nashville but my heart's in Cornwall

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Ok, I'm sorry, but as a good Southern girl, I have to throw in my 2 cents' worth and say that I've never eaten a California peach that I thought ---well, I won't say they weren't fit to eat,----let's just say I've always found Southern peaches to be better.  Lane Orchards in Ft. Valley Georgia grow some of the best peaches in the country, and I'm sure they could ship you some fine fruit.  I've been buying their peaches at our local Publix----having been to the orchard as a child, I was thrilled to see their label!  I once received a box of the most gorgeous Western-grown peaches from Harry and David, but was sorely disappointed to find them kind of like some people I've known---a pretty face with nought behind it.  :raz:  Although gorgeous to behold, they were mealy and somewhat tasteless.  Try Lane, I'll bet you won't be disappointed (unless it's too late for this season!)

Harry and David are certainly not representative of the best of California peaches. If I am buying them in the supermarket I prefer southern peaches or better yet, Pennsylvania, NJ or NY peaches (at least in northeastern supermarkets), but I have never had better peaches than from Frog Hollow.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Harry and David are certainly not representative of the best of California peaches. If I am buying them in the supermarket I prefer southern peaches or better yet, Pennsylvania, NJ or NY peaches (at least in northeastern supermarkets), but I have never had better peaches than from Frog Hollow.

i agree, harry and david not up to snuff on the peaches (i think their best product is pears, and those sometimes disappoint). but the nj stone fruit has been really good this summer. i picked up some excellent nj white nectarines at balducci's, eh, i mean citarella, a couple of weeks ago. and i hate to keep talking about nectarines while you guys talk about peaches, but they are what i prefer. that said, i'll add that the only nectarines i've had that were better than frog hollow's were ones that i smuggled from paris' grande epicerie de paris, and they were actually from australia: impossibly sweet, holding seemingly more than their weight in juice. i only wish i'd had the nerve to bring in more than just two.

can't believe it's not butter? i can.

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This year's CA peaches are not up to snuff (which is not to say I haven't had wonderful ones this year, but I have to *search* and last year I didn't). The farmers are all horribly apologetic about it. Last year I could reliably get much better peaches at the local farmer's markets. On the other hand, the plums! The scent will knock you over.

As far as mail order fruit, I've never bothered. I grew up in Central PA, which is excellent stone fruit country. CA peaches at their absolute best are almost as good as what I grew up with. If good stone fruit really matters to you, shop at local farmer's markets and look for farmers who *care*. You may pay a premium over other local fruit, but the quality will be far better than anything you can get shipped in. Good stone fruit just doesn't ship well. The stuff that's actually ripe will bruise easily just going from the tree to the main barn.

Emily

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Good stone fruit just doesn't ship well. The stuff that's actually ripe will bruise easily just going from the tree to the main barn.

Emily

I beg to differ. If handled properly they ship quite well. Frog Hollow does it properly, albeit at a significant premium. I did not order them this year so I cannot attest to their quality this season. I love good eastern peaches and get them from the source when i can. I still have not had better ones than the ones I have received from Frog Hollow, though some have come awfully close and are a much better value when they do.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Good stone fruit just doesn't ship well. The stuff that's actually ripe will bruise easily just going from the tree to the main barn.

Emily

I beg to differ. If handled properly they ship quite well. Frog Hollow does it properly, albeit at a significant premium. I did not order them this year so I cannot attest to their quality this season. I love good eastern peaches and get them from the source when i can. I still have not had better ones than the ones I have received from Frog Hollow, though some have come awfully close and are a much better value when they do.

again, i am talking nectarines and not peaches, but i must also say that my perfectly ripe nectarines arrived with lots of cushioning and no bruises. are peaches different from nectarines in terms of harvest? i think i've come to prefer nectarines, because it's easier to get a good one than to get a good peach. do peaches fare worse than nectarines when shipped?

also, i don't want to give the impression that i get all my fruit by mail. i more often enjoy farmers market fruit, which is indeed often delicious and often grown with care, and carries much less of a premium than mail order fruit. and NY offers good fruit at certain supermarkets, too. for me, though, frog hollow has been a true treat.

can't believe it's not butter? i can.

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You're allowed to disagree :). I'm going based on my experience with ripe stone fruit, and yours is different. I wouldn't mail order stone fruit because IME, anything that's going to respond well to cushioned packing materials isn't ripe yet. I define ripe as the point where anything more than the gentlest squeeze with even pressure from your whole hand will bruise the fruit. If you aren't as gentle as possible, you'll bruise the fruit. Generally, once it reaches that point, you've got at most 2 days before the fruit goes off. If you intend to eat the fruit out of hand right away, buy fruit at this stage of ripeness.

The stuff that cushioned packing materials will protect adaquately is typically 2-3 days from the point I class as ripe (some varieties will be more like 5 days from actual ripe). They're still pretty tasty then, but the flesh of the fruit still has enough firmness that it can take more than the gentlest handling. Stone fruit picked at this stage *will* soften off of the tree, but it's rare for it to reach the same level of sublime as the fruit that was truly ripe. If you want to not have to go to the orchard every day this week for fresh fruit, buy fruits in this stage of ripeness. With practice, you can pick out fruit so you've got some ripe today, some ripe tomorrow, some ripe the day after. If you try to go much beyond that, you end up with screwy fruit that's not very sweet and has a strange texture.

Nectarines and peaches behave about the same, IMO. Most nectarines are clingstone varieties, and clingstone varieties tend to be sturdier. A freestone nectarine will behave about like a freestone peach. A clingstone peach will be more like a clingstone nectarine than a freestone peach. If you want the fruit for eating out of hand, the clingstone vs freestone thing doesn't really matter. If you want the fruit for baking, it's a lot easier to get pretty fruit slices with a freestone variety.

All of this varies based on variety, what kind of growing season the area is having, where you keep your fruit at home, etc. And it's with respect to the best possible flavor for that variety. Some varieties *are* good even if they're picked at not quite ripe and overhandled. Just well... those varieties are the first to suffer if the growing season is going badly.

At least stone fruits aren't cucumbers :D. I never ever want to have a drought grown cucumber again.

Emily

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  • 2 years later...

I used this thread to guide my own purchase, so to bump/offer my two cents:

I ordered peaches from Dickey Farms last week, and Frog Hollow this week. With shipping to NH (2nd day air), the per-peach cost was about $3.50 from Dickey and about $5 from Frog Hollow.

The Dickey Farms peaches took two days to soften to where I wanted them to be, while the Frog Hollow peaches arrived exactly at that point, ready to be eaten immediately.

In other respects they're very comparable: excellent, excellent peaches, juicy and fragrant and flavorful, the kind you keep thinking you'll make a pie out of, only the next thing you know you've eaten them all. Platonic peaches, what you think of when you think of a peach. When you have these peaches in the house, you make sure to eat small portions of everything else so you have room left for peaches. That's the kind of peach I wanted, and it's what I got.

I'd order from either of them again, but Dickey is more likely simply because of the price.

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Docsconz,

We are almost into the NY/PA peach season, undoutedly delayed by cool weather, perhaps diluted in Total Soluble Solids by rain, but one never knows.

I urge you to try the PA peaches. Insist upon them by variety name and provenance [PA, NOT NY or CAN], look for sunward fruit. The folowing will ripen in rough sequence, and there are the reliable Red Haven and Elberta; also HARKEN from Canada is one to watch out for.

PF-1 Flamin’ Fury July 12

Ruby Prince

Coral Star

Regarding the softness of ripe peach/nectarine discussed upthread, there may be SOME truth to that especially with many traditional WHITE fleshed varieties BUT that is not the whole truth.

Some Chinese breeding lines, FEICHENG in particular, offer exceptional flavor with relative firmness. How well-grown a fruit is, and whether such varieties have commercial traction are separate issues. Sometimes varieties are NOT grown on commercial scales for reasons that have little to do with their appropriateness to commercial horticulture.

There are many imponderables affecting this. Among them is the fact that orchards do not start out with the intention of serving niche markets, at least the ones big enough to do mail order. There are the very little ones who do specialize and sell very locally, and the very large concerns & cooperatives. The ones in-between do not have the luxury of risking their all to variable fashions/trends and stay close to product that can be marketed through normal channels if the need arises.

I know substantial artisanal orchards who have had to convert their Ashmead's Kernel apples to ordinary cider for lack of sales and massive crops of Rhode Island Greenings sold for pennies as low-grade commercials since they became lightly russetted by hail or mineral oil spray [different places]. Russetting actually improved their organoleptic qualities, but their fashionista, organic-minded customers deserted them in droves. So much for knowledgeable foodies!!

Speaking of flavor with firmness: the ill-named STONY HARD gene, which is nothing like that. It merely suppresses the usual climacteric pattern of ripening where the fruit produces a peak of ethylene that regulates a host of processes including softening and cell wall breakdown. The fruit remains firmer for 3 more days, before softening. Total sugars are not affected and Dr. Joe Goffreda, Peach & Apricot breeder at Cream Ridge, NJ [Rutgers/NJAES] has crossed this trait into Jefferson & Jing Yu, two parents with excellent flavor, among others.

Ten years ago, the offspring from his research were not high-yielding enough or enough disease resistant re: particular pathogens for commercial culture. However, those who make blanket statements about what stone fruit may or may not be shipped without flavor loss may themselves be quite unaware of breeding efforts going on today.

I would urge them to taste the results of ZAIGER genetics, for Peach, Nectarine [white & yellow], and wide crosses, before making up their minds. And yes, these ALL are California grown, and no, I have nothing whatsoever to do with the stone fruit industry. I focus on root physiology/molecular genetics of legumes & membrane biochemistry!! Still, I need to defend the honor of fellow plant scientists on occasion!! All my very dear friends who WERE stone fruit breeders [cherries] are long retired!!

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