Sep 15 2014
Peach Picking Trip to Paonia
Post by melissa fenlon

picking peaches on aliceandlois.com

peach picking in paonia, coloradopost by Melissa

This past weekend, we took a trip over Kebler Pass from Crested Butte to Paonia, Colorado. It is only a little over an hour drive, but it’s worlds apart. Paonia lies in the fruit belt of the Western Slope. Peach, apple, cherry and pear trees dot the landscape along with grape vines.

We love to take the annual trip over the pass to pick peaches. We timed it right, they are amazing. Last year I shared my favorite peach galette recipe with you. And I course I made that this weekend. We’ll be making peach smoothies, too.

Read more for all the photos from our day and my peach picking tips.

peach picking

picking peaches on aliceandlois.com

family peach picking on aliceandlois.comCalla had such a great time spotting the perfect peach then climbing on her daddy’s shoulders to pick it. She exclaimed an hour into picking, “This is the best day ever!” Gotta love hearing that from your five year old. Poppy loved, I mean loved, riding in the wagon. She would inspect each peach as we placed them in the boxes.

After picking 40 pounds of peaches, we grabbed a dozen apples, walked through rows of peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. It kind of puts my garden of greens, sweet peas and carrots to shame!peach picking in paonia, colorado

Family peach picking tips:

• It’s always good to call the orchard before you go. Make sure the peaches are ready to be picked. And it’s always good to bring your own boxes, some orchards charge for containers.

• Bring an extra change of clothes for the kids. Peach juice can get extra sticky and the peach fuzz can make some people itch. So it’s great to change out of sticky clothes.

• Bring water, sunscreen, hats and snacks. It can get hot out there!

• When picking peaches, look for a yellow peach that is still firm, but not too hard to the touch. It’s tempting to squeeze the fruit to see if it’s ready, but you’ll just bruise it. A firm peach will be ready to eat a few days after you get it home.

• Remember to place the peaches gently in your box. Don’t stack them too high, you don’t want the weight to bruise the peaches on the bottom.

• When you get your peaches home, take them out of the container and lay them out on your countertop. Choose the peaches you want for the week and you can leave some out on the counter to ripen, and place others in the fridge. The remainder is perfect for freezing.

• To freeze peaches, I simply blanch them in boiling water, then place in cold water. To make it easier to peel the skin off, I make an x with a knife before blanching. After taking the fruit out of the cold water, you should be able to just peel the skin away easily. Then slice them up and place in freezer bags. You can also mix up peach filling for a pie and freeze that in a bag. Then when you are ready to bake a peach pie, pull filling out of freezer, thaw and bake in a pie crust.

I love our little family tradition. Now it’s time to peel, slice and freeze my 40 pounds of sweet Colorado peaches.peach picking in paonia, colorado

photos by Alex Fenlon and Melissa Fenlon. all rights reserved.

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