I spent a large portion of my childhood in the great peach state of Georgia, riding my bike all over a military base and enjoying summers with warm peach cobbler a la mode. By 1993 my father had left the military and we were living in a little town called Byron, GA. It was my first experience living in the country. Our little subdivision was sandwiched between an orchard of pecan trees and abandoned orchard of peaches. Deep in the peach orchard was a pond and a dilapidated farm-house that the kids and I from the neighborhood would go explore. My mother hated it when I went out there.
One morning in March I woke up to a scary overcast sky. The news reported that a snow storm was brewing and was going to hit us hard. The peach trees next to our house where green with bright pink blossoms, urging themselves to start growing fruit. That afternoon it snowed and snowed all the way into the night, the wind blew hard against our house and rattled the windows. It was like being hit by a snow hurricane. The following day when every thing finally settled my sitter and I ventured out to the abandoned peach orchard. For a moment we felt as if we had walked into a fairy land. The peach trees’ leaves were a luminescent green and their blossoms a bright pale pink against the clean white snowscape and clear blue skys. The snow gently rested atop the peach trees. To a 14 and 10 year old it looked like a fantasy land of fairies and unicorns. It was one of the last times I would imagine a magical forest, but to this day when I enjoy a juicy ripe peach I think of that magical orchard of my childhood. Although I am not expecting any snow fall in the middle of June in Oklahoma that doesn’t mean Oklahoma Porter peaches can’t still have a magical quality.
OB and I decided to head out to Livesay Orchards in Porter, OK and do some peach picking. While I was enjoying a relaxing drive out in the country my head formulated plans of how I was going to use all of these peaches. I knew I had to be creative because there are only two of us and I wanted to be sure that we took full advantage. I also kept singing the song “Peaches” from “The Presidents of the United States” over and over. Like a broken record.
“Millions of peaches, peaches for me,”
“Millions of peaches, peaches for free.”
“Moving to the country, Gonna eat a lot of peaches”
Seriously it was bordering on chant status.
After driving past a sod farm, which gave me an unrelenting desire to hit a golf ball, I don’t even golf, and down a gravel road we arrived at Livesay Orchard.
Obviously from the name their main gig is growing peaches but they sell other things too. Livesay Orchard was purchased by Austin Livesay in 1966. The orchard has passed through the hands of several generations and is now owned by Steve and Kent Livesay. The orchard now has more than 140 peach trees of different varieties, not to mention 30 acres of watermelon and cantaloupes, 30 acres of pumpkins and gourds, 300 acres of wheat, 1,000 acres of soybeans, 600 acres of field corn, along with tomatoes, sweet corn, milo, and cattle. It appears they are busy.
We moseyed our way through the outdoor farm market, looking at the variety and eagerly wanting to sniff and squeeze a few peaches. Off to the side was a counter with a kind lady giving samples of their peaches.
The orchard grows four varieties of peaches. They have the white country peach which to me begs to be turned into a refreshing summer beverage. The peach had a soft texture and a mild sweetness that made it perfectly refreshing for a hot summer day.
The Glohaven was a touch firmer than the white country but it had an equally mild sweetness with a more definitive peachy flavor. This was the perfect peach to go straight from branch to mouth.
The Bounty peach caught me completely off guard with a tartness that made the back of my jaw tingle. My personal taste I would not choose to eat this peach right of the branch, but I think it would be perfect for baking. If you’re looking to make a peach pie this would be your peach.
The fourth variety is the Loring. Holly sweet peachiness! The flavor of Loring peaches is like eating canned peaches without the need for canning. They are the epitome of soft juicy sweet peaches.
After our sampling session OB and I headed over to the register to pick up a container and go pick us some peaches.
The young man behind the counter said, “Rows 3, 4, & 5 are ready for picking – they are Glohaven.”
I do a celebratory, “Sweet!” Since they were my favorite from our sampling session.
OB and I skipped across the street hand in hand singing, “Millions of peaches, peaches for me.” Ok I skipped across the street singing, OB just looked at me and shook his head.
It was about 9:30 am and it was hot, but I was determined to not let the heat deter me from my delicious Glohaven peaches. Huge red Glohaven peaches!
Here are two tips for when you decided to go peach picking.
Don’t start with the trees closest to the entrance, likelihood is that unless you are one of the very first there they will be pretty well picked already.
Also bring a step-ladder or a small child to hoist on your shoulders unless you have some killer climbing skills like me or my spousal figure. The best peaches are up high where no one can reach them.
We picked just over 1/4 bushel of peaches, I wanted more but OB was concerned that they would go bad. Picking peaches was quite addictive. I kept looking for a bigger better peach.
I found one peach that was bout the size of a baseball and so juicy it squirted me in the face and dripped down my chin when I bit into it, making me grateful for my shirt sleeve. Nothing like eating a peach straight from the branch and to the mouth.
Livesay Orchards is open right now and ready for the picking. In fact their peaches are ripening 3 weeks early so you better take advantage now if you’re in the area. If you want to pick your own give them a call first to be sure that they have peaches available for picking. Otherwise you can visit their market Mon-Sat. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Also bring cash or checkbook because they don’t accept credit cards, oh and leave the furry friends at home, no pets. They also offer farm tours for school groups, a great opportunity to teach your children where their food comes from. Also be sure to mark your calendar because the Porter Peach Festival is happening in downtown Porter July 19 – 21.
You don’t have to drive all the way out to Porter to enjoy Livesay Orchard peaches. Several supermarkets in the area carry their peaches, but you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to get them at their freshest. If two big kids like OB and I had a good time, there is no doubt that you and your family will love a visit.
Stay tuned, there will be some peach recipes coming your way.2