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HomeLocal NewsIt's summertime in N.J. and everything's 'just peachy'

It’s summertime in N.J. and everything’s ‘just peachy’

One of the best gifts of summer are fresh juicy peaches. Fun fact: New Jersey is the fourth largest grower of peaches in the U.S. You can pick them close to home at several family-run farms across the state now through late August, or simply buy them at your local farmstand or supermarket.

A delicious treat on their own (and just 60 calories per peach!), they can be baked into cobblers and pies, or grilled and topped with fresh vanilla ice cream drizzled with homemade caramel sauce. Or add some pizzazz to your next cookout by serving a fresh peach salsa alongside grilled seafood.

Peach-picking is also a fun activity to entertain the grandkids. Take them peach-picking in the morning and settle in for a fun afternoon of baking peach treats. The peach-picking season in New Jersey can carry into late August at some farms. Just call ahead before you leave home to make sure the crops are still plentiful. Here are some of our favorite spots close to home in central Jersey.

Terhune Orchards, Princeton

At Terhune Orchards in Princeton, celebrate “everything peachy” at their annual Just Peachy Festival on Aug. 6 & 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Kids (and kids of all ages) will enjoy fun all around the farm. Take a pony ride around the pasture. Have fun with games and barnyard tractors, Little Tikes Farm Store & Junior Mechanics Shop, rubber duck races, and other interactive, hands-on fun including a scavenger hunt. There’s also live country music and “Eyes of the Wild” will present an educational traveling zoo program on both days at 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m.

A food tent will offer tasty summer fare such as barbecued chicken, fresh pork sandwiches, hot dogs, homemade gazpacho, peach pie and apple cider donuts. Stop in the Barn Door Café for refreshing frozen peach slushies, hand-scooped peach ice cream and a selection ice creams, hot pretzels and other treats. Adults can enjoy a glass of their award-winning Just Peachy wine or a Peach Wine Slushy. Admission to the peach festival is $12 online or $15 at the gate.

Battleview Orchards – Freehold

Peaches are available at this popular farm through mid-September. The orchard is open daily, and hours vary from day to day. Call ahead for daily orchard hours, 732-462-0756. You’ll need to arrive at least 20 minutes before closing to pick your fruit. Don’t leave without a visit to the country market, where the farm’s famous apple cider doughnuts and pies are baked fresh daily, including a no-sugar-added peach pie.

Giamarese Farm & Orchards – East Brunswick

Home to several varieties of peaches and nectarines, this 35-acre, family-run farm has been around for more than seven decades. Call to confirm crop availability at 732-821-9494. The farm is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Sundays, it closes at 3 p.m. Plan to arrive at least an hour before closing.

Alstede Farms, Chester

If you’re up to taking a drive to picturesque Chester in northern New Jersey, Alstede Farms is a fun place for the grandkids. In addition to pick-your-own peaches, flowers, and other fruits and vegetables, there’s barnyard animals available to feed, and seasonal events like tractor and pony rides, and corn or sunflower mazes. Check the farm’s “what’s picking now” tab for the best peach picking days. Purchase your tickets online in advance to guarantee admission.

And when you finally arrive home with all those fresh peaches, here’s some of our favorite peach recipes to try, courtesy of the Georgia Peach Council.

Peach Pound cake

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter plus

2 tablespoonbButter

2-1/4 cup sugar, divided

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cup chopped, fresh peaches

DIRECTIONS:

Grease a 10-inch tube pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle pan with 1/4 cup sugar. Cream remaining butter; gradually add remaining sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Combine 2-3/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until well blended. Dredge peaches with remaining 1/4 cup flour. Fold peaches into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 325 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Yields 16 servings.

Grilled Sweet Peaches with Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS

Peaches

Vanilla Ice Cream

Butter

Brown Sugar

Salt

Lemon

DIRECTIONS:

Coat the peaches in melted butter, and sprinkle on a generous coating of brown sugar, with a pinch of salt

Grill over medium for about 3-4 minutes per side, and serve warm with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a quality vanilla ice cream.

Peach Cobbler

SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS:

8 cups sliced peaches

2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

1/3 cup butter or margarine

Pastry for double-crust pie

Vanilla ice cream

DIRECTIONS:

Combine peaches, sugar, flour and nutmeg in a Dutch oven; set aside to allow syrup to form (approx. 15 minutes). Bring peach mixture to a boil: reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes or until peaches are tender. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and margarine.

Roll half of pastry to 1/8” thickness: cut into a circle to fit a two-quart baking dish. Spoon half of mixture into lightly buttered baking dish; top with pastry. Bake at 475°F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon remaining peach mixture over baked pastry.

Roll remaining pastry to 1/8” thickness and cut into 1” strips; arrange in lattice design over peaches. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until browned.

Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Salmon with Peach and Avocado Salsa

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS:

For the salsa:

2 cups peeled and chopped peaches

1 avocado, diced

½ cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice

For the salmon:

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½  teaspoons olive oil

4 (6-8 ounce) salmon fillets

Lime wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, combine peaches, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice.  Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Combine chili powder, sugar, and salt and sprinkle evenly over salmon fillets and drizzle with olive oil.  Grill, flesh side down, for 4 minutes or until salmon does not stick.  Turn fillets over and grill for and additional 4 minutes or until slightly opaque in center.

Serve salmon with salsa and lime wedges.

READ MORE: When it comes to tomatoes, N.J. is tops!

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