It’s time to celebrate Peach Month–and that’s just peachy! Peach month was created as the perfect time to enjoy and appreciate everything that has to do with this delicious fruit. Whether growing them, eating them or reading about them, peaches are the juicy theme of this warm, summer month!
History of Peach Month
Ronald Reagan, when he was President of the United States of America, proclaimed August to be “Peach Month”. In doing so, he called upon the people of the United States to incorporate this nutritious fruit into their diets, and also made a charge to interested groups to celebrate this month with appropriate programs and activities. The edict was filed with the Office of the Federal Register on June 16, 1982.
The peach tree (Prunus persica) is a species of prunus tree that is native to China and bears an edible juicy fruit, which is also called a peach. This is a deciduous tree that grows to be approximately 5–10 meters tall, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. Interestingly enough, it is classified with the almond tree in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by its corrugated seed shell.
The leaves of the peach tree are lanceolate, about 7–15 cm long and 2–3 cm broad. The lovely flowers on the peach tree are produced in early spring before the leaves; the delicate, five petaled, pink flowers are usually either sitting alone or paired with another flower.
The fruit of this tree, which is why everyone loves it so much, is called a drupe, with a single large seed encased in hard wood (usually called either a “stone” or “pit”), yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a skin that is either velvety (peaches) or smooth (nectarines) in different cultivars.
While the flesh of a peach is very delicate and easily bruised in some cultivars, but can be fairly firm in some commercial cultivars, especially while it is still green. The seed of the peach is red-brown, oval shaped and around two centimeters long.
Peaches, along with cherries, plums, and apricots, are called stone fruits (drupes), which means that they have a fairly large pit or seed.
Now that the basic understanding of the peach tree has been covered, it’s time to get started with the most fun part–celebrating Peach Month!
How to Celebrate Peach Month
Getting into the groove of celebrating Peach Month can be as simple as just picking up a peach and eating it. But for more festivities, consider getting involved with these activities:
Enjoy Picking and Eating Peaches
Those who live in a place where peaches can be picked in the month of August might just be some of the luckiest folks on earth. If they grow locally, head over to a U-Pick Peach Farm and get to filling up those bushel baskets. If not, a farmers’ market or grocery store will likely be able to supply a fresh bundle of peaches to enjoy eating or cooking with.
Head Down to Georgia
Considered to be the Peach State of the USA, Georgia is a place that shines this month. Most people from this state would probably consider biting into a juicy peach to be a patriotic event! Because of this, the largest city of Atlanta has even been affectionately coined “The Big Peach”.
Pop in to Atlanta during Peach Month to participate in peach cookoffs, a ride on the Peach Trolley (in Atlanta), visits to a myriad of roadside farmers’ markets or join in on a Peach Wine Tour. A couple of hours from Atlanta, in Musella, Dickey Farms can be found boasting Georgia’s oldest, continuously operating peach processing house (over 120 years).
Attend a Peach Festival
For a full list of peach festivals that are happening each year, a little online search will do the trick. They happen in many of the United States (and other places in the world too!)
Check out a few of them here:
- Penticton Peach Festival in British Columbia, Canada. An annual tradition in the South Okanagan Valley, this festival began in 1947 and features kids activities, a square dance, a film festival, live music, motocross, a sandcastle competition on the beach and so much more fun for families.
- Virginia Peach Festival in Stuart, Virginia, USA. This annual festival that began in 1988 includes activities such as music concerts, orchard tours, craft and food vendors, and historical demonstrations.
- Palisade Peach Festival in Colorado, USA. Those in the western parts of the US might choose to visit Palisade’s Peach Festival for family fun and activities including The Biggest Peach contest, a festival parade, a peach backyard BBQ showdown, and even a peach eating contest.
Get Cooking with Peaches
Peaches are an excellent fruit for cooking with. On their own or combined with sweet berries such as blueberries or raspberries, peaches make gorgeous cobblers, crumbles and pies. Some people like to can with peaches, making them last far into the winter by making peach preserves, peach salsa, peach honey butter or even a peach sauce to put on ice cream.
Read a Book with a Peach Theme
What could be more fun during Peach Month than enjoying a favorite book about peaches with a favorite child or teen (or on your own!)? Try these peach books on for size:
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. This fantastical book by a favorite children’s author in 1961 revolves around a lonely boy who lives with two terrible aunts. As a peach grows in the garden, James comes into contact with several unusual, adventurous insects.
- The Last Peach by Gus Gordon. This children’s book features two summer bugs who find a peach and have a crisis over who should get to eat it. To teach small children about sharing.
- Peaches (a book series) by Jodi Lynn Anderson. This book centers around three teens who have nothing in common except for the fact that they have to work at a peach farm together over the summer, where friendship, romance and growing up ensues.