Thursday, August 18, 2011

Farmer Brown’s and Elberta Peaches

When I was little, I had a Little Golden Book about Farmer Brown's Farm

I was thrilled for Mama to take us to Farmer Brown’s Market in Montezuma, Georgia as children ...... and to tell you the truth, I still have the same thrill today! 

Mimi and I went the other day for Elberta Peaches. Farmer Brown’s grows and sells the iconic peach in late July and into August in the same county from which they came. Though not the same Farmer Brown as in my Little Golden Book, the story is very much the same – a farm full of beautiful fruits and veggies and flowers set in a lovely land. This land called Macon County, Georgia, has stories upon stories of its own, but one in particular relates to peaches and thus our pilgrimage Farmer Brown’s.

Georgia’s red clay soil and temperate winters makes for fine peach growing. At the onset of refrigerated rail cars, Mr. Samuel H. Rumph of Marshallville, Georgia, developed a variety of peach that could withstand a distance before becoming too soft. New York and other Northern states were pining for our peaches and this firm fruit and cool cars became famous. The Georgia peach industry was born.

…In 1875, when Mrs. L. E. Veal, a former college mate of Mrs. Rumph's was visiting at Willow Lake, Mr. Rumph was exhibiting to her one specimen after another of peaches. Finally, he brought out a clear seeded peach with yellow flesh and a crimson blush on its cheek. Loud were the exclamations when it was shown. Mrs. Veal asked its name.

He replied, "It has no name. It is my origination. I want you to name it."

Whereupon Mrs. Veal said, "Well, let's honor your wife and call it for her. You'll never have anything to surpass it on this continent. Elberta is its name." 

A delicious peach on its own, this variety makes for perfect pies, jam-up jams and jellies, terrific tarts, and “puts up” marvelously. The latter one reason Mimi so loves this peach. While we’re in the swansong of peach season, Mimi “puts up” peaches for our enjoyment, for soon peach season is only a sticky, sweaty, yet sweet memory.

Farmer Brown’s isn’t just for peaches either! Purveyors of peas, tomatoes, squash, okra, and a myriad of other summer produce, this destination is well worth the trip. Zinnias galore and fields brimming with sunflowers combined with peach crisp and ice cream are reason enough for this Farmer to head to Macon County. I’m glad that my storybook Farmer Brown has a real life counterpart! From the peach fields of Middle Georgia to you, happy summer ya’ll!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Too much of a good thing is a really good thing, right? For my sister Sarah Margaret, who we called “Maggie May” in honor of the month she was born and as a nickname of Margaret, a drink fit for a Southern Belle is apropos.

May’s drink of choice, a Mayflower, is a combo of good things she treasures and I dare not say it’s too much! Just the right amount of goodness mixed together for an absolutely lovely drink.

Playing off the colors of zinnias, hydrangeas, and even some Poke Sal, such a pretty little drink is totally in key with vintage tea towels and garden flowers – much like Maggie May herself. This Mayflower totes no Pilgrims but carries notes of sweet summer fruit juices and a garnish almost too pretty to eat – do eat it though, for it plays on the floral and fruit essence found in this Mayflower. Enjoy a simple, elegant Mayflower for a nod to sipping and savoring the delights of fruit juice and nectar. 

Equal Parts (1 cup to start):
Peach Nectar
Pineapple juice
Cranberry juice
Green tea
1/3 cup rosemary syrup

Blackberries, peach wedges, pineapple chunks and rosemary sprigs for garnish
Mix the juices, green tea and syrup together and chill or serve over ice. Fresh flowers and fun linens make it all that more special and festive.

***Rosemary Syrup***

This can also be done with thyme, mint, basil, etc… 
Dissolve one cup of sugar with one cup of water over medium heat. Add a few sprigs of rosemary and allow the herb to steep with the syrup until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup clear – about 5 minutes. Don’t boil for you may make candy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ciao! Huevos Rancheros Bruschetta, Ya’ll

I’m a firm believer in the adage that a tiny plot can feed a whole lot! Granddaddy’s tomatoes keep rolling in and BLT’s, pies, sauce, and simply sliced dishes of tomatoes are abounding on our tables. 

Mimi, as is her custom, has toast and tea every morning for breakfast..... as her grandmother did. Sourdough buttered and toasted and glazed with a seasonal spread is de rigueur. Taking the tone from the toast in the iron skillet and the tomatoes on the windowsill (Mimi and Granddaddy always have tomatoes on their windowsills May through October), the cultures of Italy and Deep Down Dixie merge for a delicious starter, meal or snack that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed this summer. The addition of an over easy egg gives a huevos rancheros nod to the dish and a dose of protein too. ¡OlĂ©!'! 

As a fan of breakfast for supper, this dish is at home to kick off the day or cap the day or really anytime in between. Taking literally a few minutes to prepare, you’ll love the way the egg yolk nods along with the tomato and basil sing-a-long. The crusty sourdough toast soaks up all it can and give you an excuse to use your hands to scrape the last bit with the crust. Leave off the egg for a traditional bruschetta that is nothing shy of divine.

Let the cultures collide and serve this dish to your friends and family while the garden tomatoes are at their best. Fresh garden basil displays its magic with tomatoes and garnishes the plate quite lovely as well. A dose of Dixie, some Italian flare, and zest from Spanish culture make a most delicious dish. From our garden and table to yours, happy summer ya’ll!

Summer Garden Bruschetta

3-4 pieces of sourdough slices cut in half
3-4 garden tomatoes
Small bunch of basil leaves
Salt, pepper, olive oil
Garlic salt
Creole Seasoning
Eggs (one egg for each slice of bread)
  • Toast the halved sourdough with some olive oil or butter.
  • Chop the tomatoes and basil and mix with a splash of olive oil. Season to taste with salts, pepper, and Creole Seasoning. Allow mixture to sit and rest for the salts will draw juices from the tomatoes.
  • Spoon tomato mix over toast. Garnish with basil.
  • Place over-easy egg on top of tomatoes and serve warm. Enjoy!
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