One of the best things about living in the Bay Area is the year-round access to a seasonal cornucopia, much of it grown organic/biodynamic/grass fed/with hugs. Growing up in the Northeast, the growing seasons were considerably shorter and there was always the miserable stretch from late November until winter was over when “seasonal” vegetables meant potatoes, cabbage, potatoes, winter squash, and potatoes. Everything else was shipped in from warmer locales, picked under-ripe to avoid bruising and spoilage in transit, meaning produce that tasted bland and mealy.
Here on the left coast, it is a completely different story. I’d even go so far as to describe it as a complete change of habitat. After a while, you forget that being within a 100 mile radius of farms, vineyards, ranches and fisheries generating year-round produce is NOT normal. You quickly grow used to it. Spoiled even. Not that I’m complaining – the “half the price as the grocery store for three times the quality” daily supply of farmer’s markets is not only key to the good life, but also the lynchpin to saving enough money to pay the insane rents out here.
Right now, the farmer’s markets are bursting with string beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, golden beets, melons, berries, plums and peaches. It’s that last one that is my weakness – picked just ripe that day and ready to almost burst from its skin, there is nothing like a summer peach. With almost, but not quite too much sweetness, it has the burst of sun-filled flavor that reminds you of long summer days that fade into warm, muggy nights of backyard grilling and homemade ice cream. And like summer, it is also quickly fleeting, with a peak season gone almost as soon as it arrives. Sweet and fleeting, a little bit like life, I guess. So enjoy it while it lasts.
1/2 fresh peach
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1 oz lemon juice*
Muddle the peach with simple syrup. Add the rye and lemon juice. Shake with ice, strain into a tall glass over ice, and top with club soda.
* Depending on how sweet & ripe your peaches, you may need less than 1 ounce of syrup. Next one I’ll be trying it at 3/4 oz.