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How to tell when peaches are ripe

August is National Peach Month, and I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

The bad news: the squirrels ate all the peaches from our backyard tree. The good news: Glenn Cook from Cider Hill Farm explained how to tell when peaches are ripe. (Wish I had known this sooner, because I might have gotten to my peaches before the varmints did.) Here’s what he said:

Peaches are harvested by ground color and swell. Ground color is the color under the red blush, which goes from green to light green to yellow when the fruit is mature. The swell is the filling out of the cheeks in the last day or two before it is ready to pick. Peaches put on a lot of size in the last few days before harvest. Peaches picked for long haul shipping and storage are generally picked a few days sooner than we would, to make them more firm and durable, but they often will not develop their full flavor and juiciness. If picked correctly, they will be firm with just a little give when pressure is put on them, but will ripen to a juicy softness in just a day or two. In our area, mid season peaches tend to have the best flavor, which we harvest from early August to the end of that month. Peaches can be kept in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

And here’s another tip, straight from the Spiker’s kitchen: Fruit flies just love peaches. We usually have three or four different fruits in our home test kitchen at any given time, but when peaches are on the counter they are also on the fruit-fly menu. So as soon as we bring peaches home (from Cider Hill or any other local orchard), we bag ’em in gallon-size zip bags. And as soon as they are just-right ripe, they go into the fridge.

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New shrub flavors at Cider Hill Farm

IMG_2017Who isn’t totally in love with early autumn weather in our neck of the woods? Mist from the evening rises and burns off slowly to reveal absolutely gorgeous scenes like this one at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury.

Equally gorgeous at Cider Hill is the newest display of Spiker’s Shrubs. Along with other popular flavors you will now find our Sour Cherry Plum shrub, and Peach Rosemary shrub. Check them out and let us know what you think!

PS – Coming Sept. 25, our exclusive Apple Crisp Shrub, a unique collaboration with Cider Hill Farm!

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Spiker’s Shrubs at Cider Hill Farm starting July 9

ciderhillfarm_spread_1Great news! We’re proud to announce that starting July 9, you will be able to find Spiker’s Shrubs at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury MA. Treat yourself to the fresh flavors of our pure-fruit mixers: Blueberry Juniper, Pineapple Basil, Raspberry Lime, and Strawberry Rhubarb.

Cider Hill Farm has a sterling reputation for the quality of its produce, its commitment to the environment, and its reputation as a leader and team player among the local and sustainable gardening network. And it doesn’t hurt that Cider Hill is less than a half-mile from our door!

We look forward to a long and — yes — fruitful relationship with Cider Hill. Be sure to check our calendar for information about our upcoming tasting event on Wednesday, July 16.