The Localist: Larken Farms Peaches

I spent most of my adolescence never understanding why people loved peaches so much. The west coast is reputed for having amazing produce, but every piece of stone fruit I bought was flawed in a major way: it was either criminally under-ripe or mushy and flavorless.

All that changed this weekend while browsing my local farmer’s market. I fell in love with some petite, local peaches from Waxahatchie-based Larken Farms. These three-bite morsels of juicy deliciousness finally had me understanding why this heralded yellow fruit is synonymous with summer desserts and nostalgia-enriched happy memories.

Larken Farms is a fruit orchard with about 8,000 trees producing over 25 different varieties of freestone and clingstone peaches. What’s the difference between the two? The flesh of a freestone peach pulls away easily from the pit, while a clingstone will cling to it.

The farm isn’t certified organic, but they pride themselves on being chemical free and using organic farming methods to produce all of their fruits and vegetables. At certain times throughout the year they are open to the public to allow patrons to pick their own fruit straight from the source.

Most peaches find their way into a dessert, whether it’s a pie, freshly churned ice cream, a cobbler, or a crisp. Because peaches are so reminiscent of a short growing season, I usually spend the better part of the weekend canning as many flats as possible. Last weekend I braised some in a reduction containing brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla beans, and maple syrup, and then folded them into vanilla Greek yogurt to make popsicles. A fresh peach and habanero salsa has often topped a whole roasted fish or a bowl of tortilla chips at my home from time to time.

You can learn more about Larken Farms and all the different varieties of  peaches and other fruits they grow by visiting their website.