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peaches, mushrooms, and connection to place

2014 August 20
by Rachel Turiel



If you did an MRI on my brain right now, you’d see that 50% is devoted to shuttling ripe peaches into the proper channels (freezer, canning jars, drying racks), another 25% is consumed with pep-talking myself through harvest-overwhelm (step forward with knife and breathe), and the last dusty regions are torn between actively ignoring the proliferating fruit flies and vaguely wondering, who’s parenting the kids?




We harvested a few (hundred pounds of) peaches. Also, a small batch of mushrooms and one (surprise) roadkill deer. And of course every plant in the garden is waving its vegetal hand, begging, “Pick me! Pick me!” If you peered into our house right now, you’d see Dan and me, hunched over the table, ginsuing through boxes of ripe, succulent peaches, each juicy fruit spawning legions of new bawdy metaphors for Dan to try out on me.

We’ve become our own itinerant labor. Dan and I meet up in the mornings and evenings to plan and assess. The things we concern ourselves with have, roughly the same five, interchangable answers: 8 pints; more canning lids; #%$!@ fruitflies; simmer and mash; I thought you were watching the kids.


Oh that? Just a roadkill deer leg, never to be turned down.

The kids are craftily seizing the opportunity of occupied parents to squeeze peaches into cups and sell the pulpy juice in front of the house, or to trot out every last little plastic thingy to strew across the house. No matter, we’ll clean up sometime in November. Rose came out of her room this morning wearing snowboots, rubber gloves and a pair of glasses my mom sent her, which she claims have “no reception.”

It occured to me, as the rat and then the cat woke me up at godawful early thirty this morning, that everything I’m doing right now boils down to Connection to Place. I don’t know if I can articulate it, but accepting the gifts of the chokecherries, the acorns, the meaty porcini mushrooms popping, red-capped, under the spruce trees, grounds me here. If we lived in Alaska, it’d be blueberries and salmon; in California, citrus and blackberries. By inexplicable fate, we happen to live in the Southwest, and there is a whole vital, edible platter of offerings right here, each with its own time-limited ripeness. Taking part in these seasonal offerings feels like a way to greet friends everywhere, to love this world, to love this place, to belong. After nineteen years here, the shine on this local life hasn’t worn away, rather it simply gets richer, deeper, better.


This morning:

Me: I’m going to go out and harvest some salad greens.

Dan: You mean you’re going to go weed the garden?

bounty2Purslane, amaranth, lamb’s quarters, dandelions and dill.

There are just TWO spots left in my chokecherry cooking class on Sunday. We’ll be making chokecherry jelly, chokecherry-apple leather, and talking about how to turn this astringently-sweet fruit into a pantry of delicious goods. (Also, three spots left in upcoming canning class). For more info, go here.


Rose and Iris selling “hand-crushed peach juice.”


Iris, not quite the glam-girl Rose is, trying to figure out the pink, sequined hair clip that Rose suggested would be appropriate for an afternoon of sales. “I don’t think I’m going to wear this, Rose,” she says, turning the thing over in her hands. Bless you, Iris.
Peach-eating rat named, Martha. I was not prepared for how much I’d like this little critter.
Recipes currently in use:
BBQ Peach Sauce
Peach Leather: (cook down peaches until thickish, lay out on parchment paper in the sun (or oven, or dehydrator).
Salsa, two ways
Fermented pickles

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Becky permalink
    August 20, 2014

    just love your posts ~ what is that on the cookie sheets?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      August 20, 2014

      Thank you Becky, that is peach leather! Makeshift recipe in the post.

  2. August 20, 2014

    Yeah, I’m in the same mode, but doing three farmers markets a week. So sometimes it stuff that I picked that didn’t sell. I’m learning to let some things go. To let the chickens have a few tomatoes and oversized cucumbers, that I don’t have to blanch, chop and freeze every bunch of kale that comes home from market (the rabbits love it). I’ve just finished making 30 jars of different kinds of plum jam, and staring a batch of plum wine. I’m OK if I don’t see another one for a year or so, lol. Peaches are next for me. Hugs.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      August 20, 2014

      Jennifer, I am comforted to have chickens who are always up for a scrap of leftover harvest. It all comes back around, right? Also, luckily there’re always friends willing to help out with the eating duties. Glad you’re so immersed in the bounty.

  3. lynn permalink
    August 20, 2014

    fruit flies: paper funnel shoved in a jar (tight around the top!) w/a little apple cider vinegar (or peach chunk) at the bottom will take care of those pesky thangs. You’ll be amazed at how many you trap!

    PEACH HEAVEN! I wanna come over…

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      August 20, 2014

      Lynn, thank you! Excited to try this and free up at least 15% brain space.

  4. August 20, 2014

    Peaches *and* mushroom bountiful harvest together? Holy chicken! Can I move to Colorado with you? I think I could thrive solely from peach clafoutis and an occasional mushroom omelette.

  5. August 20, 2014

    I wish I lived in Colorado I’d sign up for your class. Do you know by chance if Southern Arizona has chokecherries?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      August 21, 2014

      Probably not if you’re south of Phoenix, but likely in Northern Arizona, in with the oak and ponderosa.

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