When I was small, every summer we would head up to the Okanagan Valley to visit my Grandma in her little house near Okanagan Lake in a sleepy little town called Kelowna.
I remember two things very clearly from those visits. The first was the candies in the jar on my Grandma’s coffee table… those candies in that jar have turned into inspiration for a little project I’m plotting and scheming.
The second thing was the fruit… So. Much. Fruit. Cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears and apples – it was the fruit basked of Canada. My mum would come home with flats of fruit to can and freeze for the winter.
I just got back late last night from three days in the Okanagan – a combination of work and play with good friends. Much more on that later – but for now, peaches. Glorious ripe, firm, juicy, fuzzy, sweet, sweet, sweet Okanagan peaches fresh from the orchards.
One of our first orders of business upon arriving was finding peaches. And we did – we were so eager to sink our teeth into them we didn’t think ahead and found ourselves driving down the highway with juices running down our hands and arms… poor rental car! We ate the entire container in less than 24 hours.
You can buy Okanagan peaches in the grocery stores and farmers’ markets down here on the coast this time of year but they just aren’t the same. They’re never as sweet or as ripe and all the fuzz has been removed. The fuzz, is key. It’s not a real peach without it. Even if you wash it off before eating it. Driving to BC’s hot, dusty interior and buying them straight from the tree is one of summer’s little joys to be savoured!
On our last day, we loaded up on more peaches to take home – I still haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do with them but, I knew for lunch today that there would be a peach salad. We had also stopped at Kelowna’s Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan to check out the dairy and cheeses and I had bought a container of their goat Feta. I knew the salty feta had to go in with the peaches.
Add some fresh thai basil from my garden, some sliced up ham and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette to the peaches and feta and you have lunch in 2 minutes. Sweet and salty, and so jam packed with flavour that I’m not sure another drop could have been squeezed in!
You know how they say the simplest meal can be the most delicious? And how you can never go wrong when you buy the best, freshest ingredients? They (whoever “they” may be) are right. This might just be the best thing I ever ate.
The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Peaches and Feta (recipe)