Our peaches are legendary, known for their melting sweetness that keeps us coming back year after year. For some families, Frog Hollow Farm peaches are a summer tradition – people seek them out at farmers markets, in their CSA boxes, and grocery stores, and ship them to friends and family across the United States. Our peaches are at the center of the table when it’s time to enjoy a perfect moment. After all, that’s what a ripe peach is – a perfect moment in time.
As we look forward to August and National Peach Month, we’re celebrating this very special fruit and a few of the farmers and traditions that helped to make a ripe peach a summer tradition.
Farmer Al Courchesne
Farmer Al used to have two jobs – he was a schoolteacher and a farmer in Hawaii. After a few years of this, he decided to move back to California. He arranged a meeting with a Brentwood farmer who drove him to a 13-acre plot of land that was for sale and told him, “Buy this land and plant peaches!” Al took the farmer’s advice. In 1976, he bought the land, planting 10 varieties of peaches that ripened at different intervals.
Fun fact: Farmer Al started farming peaches on 13 acres in 1976. Today, Frog Hollow Farm grows about 100 acres of peaches. Some of the original varieties he planted are still growing here, including Suncrest, O’Henry, and Summerset. There are plenty of new varieties too.
Early U.S. Peach Planters
Who do we thank for introducing peaches to the United States? It’s hard to know for sure, but historic records say the first peaches were probably planted in New England before 1630. In 1633, a Dutch sea captain wrote in his journal that he’d found peach trees in George Minifie’s garden and those were the first he’d seen in North America. No mention of juicy goodness in the journal.
Origins in China
Peaches are an ancient fruit that hails from China – researchers say today’s peaches can trace their lineage to trees that grew in the Yangtze River Valley, more than 7,500 years ago. From there, peaches likely made their way through Asia and the Mediterranean, and eventually took root in Europe.
Peaches are woven through Chinese history and culture. The peach blossom evokes romance, vitality and beauty, and the fruit is a symbol of longevity.
Where are you?
From China to Europe to the United States, and finally, to Brentwood. It’s been an epic journey for a very special fruit that has been revered throughout history. Where do you fit into this journey? Do you have a favorite variety? A favorite recipe? A favorite peachy memory?
The legend continues!