Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just peachy

On Sunday, after the British Open, we made the hour-long trek to Brentwood to do something that's long been on my radar: pick fruit.

The city of Brentwood makes it easy. There's a handy dandy "Harvest Time in Brentwood" brochure that tells you which farm sells what, when it's open, and includes a map. The same information is also online.

Parents of young children generally know Brentwood for its Smith Family Farm. The farm does Halloween big time and we've been there a handful of times to see the animals, pick pumpkins, go through the corn maze and take hay rides. It's a standard preschool field trip and mother's club activity.

Brentwood has changed a lot since we were last there. There are now malls with big box retailers and a surreal family aquatic complex that the kids would have easily ditched the fruit picking adventure for. I even saw a PF Chang's. My amazing virtual assistant, Mary, lives in Brentwood, and now I know why. There's little reason to leave unless you commute out!

We arrived at the Farmer's Daughter and, after a liberal application of SPF 50, headed to the orchard, buckets in hand. It didn't take us long to pick 10 lbs of peaches, nectarines and plums. The pinks loved taking fruit right off the tree and eating it. I was surprised how much fuzz is on a peach when you first pick it, and how little of that fuzz is left by the time it hits our local farmer's market or worse yet, Safeway.

It's late summer so my tomato obsession is in full swing. En route home we bought some heirloom tomatoes from a roadside stand and I've been eating them daily, Caprese salad style. Although heirloom tomatoes are appealing in that newborn baby sort of way -- sweet smelling and at the intersection of beautiful and ugly -- I really do prefer big juicy red ones. August is days away and so is peak tomato season!

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