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Sep 5, 2012 07:29 AM

This is probably a 'redundant' question...."FREESTONE PEACHES" ?

I have not seen any in my usual shopping places, they're probably gone by now...but did anyone see/buy them and 'where'? Have you seen them lately? I'd like to make some Peach Jam if it's not too late.....

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  1. They're around but quality this year struck me as subpar, thanks to poor weather early in the growing season. Saw some at Highland Farms this weekend. Best I had were some early, smallish cling varieties about a month back. Price/quality now might be uneconomical for jam/preserves.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Kagemusha

      I agree-despite what people have said, they are not great this year. Juicy, but mealy. The peaches I ate in France this summer were much better tasting.

      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        Weather was no help this season. Wondering now just how bad the apple crop(s) will be after the late frosts.

        1. re: Kagemusha

          The weather in the spring destroyed a lot of the crop at the early stage, but for those that survived the hot, dry summer actually increased sugar content for Niagara peaches resulting in juicier, sweeter peaches. Peach crop was down about 25%, but apples suffered a lot more and crop is projected to be down by about 80% so expect higher prices. I guess I've been lucky with my purchases, but I've not had one mealy peach yet this year and found the quality exceptional.

          1. re: midtowngirl

            Agreed. I'm Niagara-based and regularly make peach pies. Gorgeous peaches, an abundant supply. Clingstone, semi-freestone, and freestone. Many farms still have plenty.

            FYI, as per Kagemusha's comments, apples really suffered from the crops here. So far we have Macs and Ginger Golds, but the frost really crated some havoc on some other varieties.

            1. re: ls150

              Look forward to higher prices, limited availability, and restricted pick-your-own. Just back from Ferri's in Brampton--ginger golds and galas only with more available in the next 2 weeks--where they weren't thrilled with what's coming. They have orchards around Collingwood but their Brampton orchards are closed for picking this season, as others are in Halton and Peel according to them.

    2. Saw some last night at the Longo's on Laird.

      1. They had them yesterday at Longo's at Yonge/Bloor. They also has them at loads of farmstands on the way back from Niagara but the ones I bought were quite firm and not very juicy or tasty.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gembellina

          You can ripen peaches quite nicely if they are just a little under ripe. Lay them out on a table in the sun so they aren't touching and rotate them so they don't get bruised. Takes about a day but improves the flavour enormously.

          1. re: crawfish

            Good to know. The woman at the stand said they were fully ripe and that their firmness would be a good thing for a peach pie. Incorrect on both counts, as it turns out!

        2. Bought some freestone peaches at the Nathan Philips Square farmers market today at lunch (on every Wednesday). I've found the peaches from Niagara this year to be fantastic - sweet and juicy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: midtowngirl

            thanks to all...I am 'heartened' by the response(s)...will call Longo's on Laird as my first try and follow up on the others if 'thank you 'crawfish' for the 'ripening' hint...

            1. re: pearlD

              Been getting them for several weeks now on north side of St. Lawrence Market. Need a day or two to ripen but made for good jam, chutney and canned peaches.

              1. re: pearlD

                Midtowngirl beat me to it.. I've also been buying great peaches at Nathan Phillips Square. This might have been their last week though..

            2. bought Loring freestones @ Square One so-called farmers' market (from a real farmer from Beamsville, which has later season than peach growers elsewhere in Niagara) on Sunday (canned 2qts more, to add to 9qt Redhavens done earlier (season now over).

              Cresthavens also freestone but seemed watery in flavour by comparison.

              BabyGolds are NOT freestone & skins WON'T come off w blanching!

              3 Replies
              1. re: beach_cook

                Gave up on Sq. 1 a couple years ago--too many resellers, too few legit growers. Found that a few too many Niagara "growers" there were just selling from the area--caveat emptor. Unhappily watched that market go from great in the late 90s to borderline awful now.

                1. re: Kagemusha

                  Absolutely agree, Sq1 is caveat emptor, but there are real growers selling their own +- their neighbours' produce (AND growers caving & selling BrColumbia apricots 6w prior to their own ripening!) - clearly dependent on customers' not knowing/caring. That said, I bought tasty ripe not-mealy Redskin variety freestone peaches yesterday (Sept 30 !)from Brincovar's (grower) & 1st greengage plums in 7y (by inquiry) 2w ago.

                  1. re: beach_cook

                    Despite my Sq 1 market hate-on, I have found some gems there, like damson plums from one of the few legit Niagara growers. Hoping next season isn't so brutal. Not digging the wiped-out apple crop.