There aren’t many reasons I’d leave work early on a Friday afternoon to jockey for position on the 101 en route to Selma, CA. In case you haven’t spent time in this garden spot, let me describe Selma’s whereabouts: southeast of Gilroy, the smelly garlic capital of the world; and just south of Fresno, a blazing hot and dusty town whose only redeeming quality is an In-N-Out Burger (according to at least one burger-phile I know). But if there’s one thing that never fails to motivate me, it’s food. Surprised? I’m not.
While the prospect of frozen yogurt or warm chocolate chip cookies can inspire me to brave a seven-block walk on a cold and windy SF night, the promise of organic peaches and nectarines ripe and ready for picking is enough to almost have me singing the praises of the Fresno In-N-Out. Almost. Just because In-N-Out only uses the meat from one cow to make one patty does not mean that the steer are raised in humane conditions, but enough about animal welfare. Back to peaches and nectarines!
In what might make a convincing post for the blog Stuff White People Like, we participated in a tree adoption and harvest at the Mas Masumoto Family Farm in, as previously established, Selma. To adopt a tree, wannabe farmworkers and fervent fruit-lovers apply to pre-purchase the harvest from one of the Masumotos’ organic peach and nectarine trees. After a competitive application process, selected ‘adoptive parents’ clear their calendars for a period of six consecutive weekends in the summer in anticipation of the birth (really extending the analogy, here) of their tree. Or, to put it another way, when all of the fruit is nearly ripe.
On the pre-selected birth/harvest date (this is like a C-section, friends), temporary farmworkers converge in the Masumoto orchard for a stiflingly hot morning of fruit-picking, sorting and packing. Of course doing so gives you a very brief and coddled (i.e., sweat-wicking clothing, ample SPF and plenty of water) experience of the extremely hard work many farmworkers endure, but, more importantly, it gives you fruit. A lot of fruit. Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of peaches and nectarines that will likely ripen on the same day and then descend into moldiness. Scary.
With my many peaches in tow, I headed home covered in dust, sweat and peach juice and spent my weekend doing what any normal 26 year old would do: jamming, canning and otherwise stuffing my face with stone fruit. In between processing jar after jar of peach jam, I snuck in a refreshing green tea-nectarine smoothie to both cool off after many hours spent at a hot stove, and benefit from a refreshingly cold caffeine kick. This smoothie would be great with any stone fruit, such as peaches or cherries. Bottoms up!
click through for recipe
1 cup very strong, chilled green tea (steep two tea bags in one cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes; chill overnight)
¾ cup plain almond milk
½ banana, sliced and frozen
1 nectarine, cut into 1” cubes and frozen (no need to peel unless you’re skin-averse)
big handful frozen raspberries
1 tbsp honey, more or less to taste
Place all ingredients in blender and press on. Blend. Taste and adjust with additional honey, if needed. Sip. Or gulp!