A case of fuzzy, yummy, Georgia peaches sits behind me as I bounce in the passenger seat on I-16 on the way to the coast. How can a road so damn straight be so relentlessly bumpy? I’ve had this hang up about I-16 since my first trip on this mind-numbing highway back in the early ‘90’s (a trip to visit Amy and her family at Jekyll Island). I’m usually self-rliant when it comes to occupying my brain, but something about this stretch of pavement that runs from Macon to Savannah turns my thoughts to mush. The fact that I’m able to string words together in any semi-sensical order is actually quite impressive. My aversion to I-16 has nothing at all to do with the communities that the lie on either end or to either side. In fact, any excuse to get off the highway is a welcome one and we’ve had some great trips to Lyons, Vidalia, Swainsboro, Statesboro, Register, Claxton, and the like. And Savannah is an amazing city worth hacking your way through a jungle to reach. In fact, maybe we’ll stop there for lunch.
This leg of our journey began near Fort Valley in a little community called Zenith at the Pearson family’s 5th generation peach and pecan farm. That kind of operation is somewhat common in Europe (though less and less it’s sad to say), but it’s almost unheard of in this country. When Al Pearson talks about his farm and tells stories of his grandfather, there’s a sense of pride there that you can almost feel. They may not be the largest peach orchard in the state, but they’re worth seeking out. Al and his wife Mary disagree about what variety is their best peach (Mary prefers the white-meat varieties), but they know they have something special going there.
I’ve eaten about 10 peaches since our stop in Zenith. I rarely ever eat peaches at home, but I realize now that most of the grocery store variety peaches we have access to are over-hybridized and under-ripe. These Pearson peaches are the kind that send juice running off your chin and down to your elbows. Delicious! I’m looking forward to cooking with them on the show.
Much to do…peaches to eat! Gesundheit,