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Ruston Peach Preserves

Ruston Peach Preserves

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Farmers markets, summer, and peaches go oh so well together!

This past weekend I went to the local Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm. The Louisiana Ruston peach vendor was there with his truck loaded. Everyone was taking advantage of this limited time offer. The vendor loaded baskets of various sizes with peaches. My eyes, however, were on the cases of peaches just behind the counter.  They were the #2 or B grade peaches— you know, the ones with bruises and blemishes. I asked about those peaches and was told that they were just $10 a case. To make this deal even sweeter, the vendor allowed me to pick the peaches I wanted. It might be surprising that I would be delighted by lower quality peaches, but for me they are like finding a treasure. Because I planned to cook the peaches anyway, I didn’t mind cutting away a blemish or two. Actually, sometimes the flavor is even better and more rounded. So off I went with my case of peaches with visions of cobbler and jam dancing in my head.
If you had the advantage of being raised on a farm like me, or perhaps you grow your own fruits or vegetables, you know that not all produce is perfect. In the case of the peach vendor, we have had more rain then normal and this caused the peaches to blemish. But then you are left with the question of what to do with your crop. Farmers have long known what to do in these cases. Something like, when life gives your lemons make lemonade. Well in this case, when life gives you bruised peaches, make jam and cobbler. So that’s what I did.
Next time you go to your local farmers market or just the grocery store, take a second look at those less than desirable produce and plan a menu. It is usually a great value and surprisingly delicious.

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