Posted by: adventuressetravels | July 13, 2010

Roadside Fare

Every day on the way to and from the hotel we would pass a little roadside stand boasting onions, pecans, and best of all… fresh peaches.  Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and stopping for gas on our way back to the hotel I asked M if he could wait for me while I stopped by the stand.  I could hardly wait!  I was finally going to buy some real Georgia fare.

As I walked into the green and white open-air tent my mouth began to water.  The cloyingly-sweet smell of peaches filled the air.  The heavenly aroma that came from the baskets and baskets of delicious fruit overwhelmed the tent.  Peaches have always been one of my favorite fruits; peach pie, peach preserves, peach juice, and delectable juicy sun-ripened peaches.  Now, at long last I was going to try the legendary Georgia peach. Locally fruit is always better.  The difference is like night and day. 

But peaches couldn’t be all I got there.  I wandered over to the jam section to see if they had any local jams.  A little jar, smaller than the rest caught my eye: mayhaw jelly read the label.  Grabbing a jar I approached the middle-aged cashier.  From her bottle-blonde permanent, to the garishly-patterned polyester tank top she was exactly what the kind of woman I expected to find in the rural South.  What kind of fruit was mayhaw?  I was dying to know.

The woman smiled at me gently through her heavy make-up.   “Mayhaw trees grow in ta Georgia swamps,” she drawled.  “When ta berries fall, those thah farmers fish em out of the water and make em inta jelly.  It’s best in ta wurld,” she promised.

I had to admit, the tart jelly was delicious.  Reminiscent of plums, what it really called to mind was the haw flake candy I had grown up on.  And they were members of the haw, or apple, family, said the story printed on the little jar.

I was sold.  I wasn’t quite finished yet though.  Some writing on the sign outside had caught my attention: boiled peanuts.  What on earth were boiled peanuts?  What would possess someone to boil a peanut!?

“Wul peanuts ah legumes. Jus lak beans ar peas.  Ya dun have boiled peanuts where you’re frum?  Woud you lak ta try one? They tas kinda lak beans.”

Well, when in Rome… I nodded, if I wanted to try local cuisine, this was the time to do it.  Boiled peanuts and all.  She dropped the steaming hot little shell in my hand and I carefully pried the thing open trying not to burn my fingers.  She was right, from the consistency to the flavor it was very much like a boiled bean.  Boiled peanuts, I shook my head.  What would they think of next?

When we got back to the hotel I could barely wait to dig into my bag of peaches.  But not yet, not yet… This fruit was special.  it was my first real Georgia peach.  I couldn’t just wolf it down.  I had to savor the experience.  And savor it I did.

Like sampling a fine wine I sniffed the little fruit.  Its heady aroma was enough to make me weak in the knees.  These peaches were not from genetically engineered hot-house.  They had clearly been grown on a farm, ripened nearly to perfection.  The sun, rain, nutrients, and a farmer’s love had all gently coxed them to perfection.  Inhaling the perfume one last time I inhaled once more and bit into the peach.

More juice than I would have thought possible erupted from the little fruit, running down my chin.  With each bite more liquid; my hands, pants, even the chair I was sitting on were casualties of the eruption.  Cupping my hand under the little water balloon of juice I ran to the sink to finish my breakfast.  More delicious than I could possibly have imagined I ate another and then another.  Georgia certainly deserved its moniker, the Peach State.  As a peach-lover this was hands down these were the best I had tasted in my life.

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Responses

  1. Peachy keen.


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