Monday, January 31, 2011

Ashley's Peaches

~3lbs of thawed native yellow peaches from Ashley's Peaches (~1/2 mile from my parent's house in Acushnet, MA) were crushed and added to a better bottle. 3 gallons of the golden strong sour base was racked on it, December 2010.

When you can get them, these are by far the best peaches I've eaten in my life. I don't care if its marked 'organic' or 'local'...the grocery store stuff is picked when they are rock hard, so if they ever ripen to sweetness, the flesh is usually mealy, grainy bland crap. I don't even bother at this point.

Ashley's are full on real peaches, as they were intended and should be. Ripened on perfectly pruned trees that have been thinned to enhance sun exposure, ripening and full flavor. They'll leave a few leaves on the stem of the fruit, a perfect visual garnish to the sun blushed drupes. The skin can be easily pulled away from the flesh if you can't handle the fuzzyness. When you cut in to them, the juice just drops out (you're going to want that juice), and the very red sugar rich flesh that's close to the pit falls away easily from the stone.

Time and time again in the late summer, I get to re-live childhood, each time you slurp-bite in to an Ashley's peach as you bow over the sink, with the juice dripping down your hands and forearms. This isn't my first rodeo, so I know to roll my sleeves up past my elbows, if I'm wearing them.
Ashley's only puts out pristine product, and only the pristine. They are ready to eat either immediately, or the next day. A third day is pushing it. Every single peach is hand selected and put out for sale, and the locals know to arrive early, so you don't have your hopes dashed by the 'Sold out for today' chalkboard sign that often makes an appearance as early as 11AM. As I'm now an out of towner, part of me wishes they'd give me not-quite-ripe fruit to take home for my beer...the bugs won't mind the wait. But, as a fellow artisan, I wholly understand there is only one way to make your wares available...only when you know they are ready.

So, taking a cue from Ashley's, this beer will stay with the peaches until I don't see positive pressure on the airlock + 3 months.

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