Our very own grapes. Harvested right in our front yard.
First to ripen was the green Himrod seedless variety — so flavorful compared to pale Thompsons shipped in from California.
We took all the ripened bunches with us on vacation, savoring them for breakfast and while snacking on the beach. According to my husband, Kevin, they pair well with Cheez-its. I preferred them nibbled beside brie and toasted sesame crackers.
Next, once we got home, were the pink Reliance — wow. My mother said they tasted like wine. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but they have definite nuances that grape-y grapes like Concords certainly don’t possess.
Of the five vines we’re growing, the Reliance are the overwhelming favorites of the bees, ants and other sugar-sipping critters in our neighborhood. I had to be extremely careful snipping the bunches from the vines so I didn’t aggravate any stinging nectar seekers. And, despite my best efforts, I toted more than grapes into the house for we soon spied large, black ants frantically searching across our kitchen counter for their colony mates. (Kevin put a firm stop to their quests.)
I then picked through the largesse, rinsing the bunches and removing inedible specimens. It was fascinating to see some of the formerly fragrant orbs hollowed out and shriveled on the stems. The little buggers simply suck out the sweet juice and leave the skin behind.
Right on the heels of the Reliance were the Interlaken. They’re also seedless, yet slightly smaller than their green Himrod cousins. (I do appreciate how so many Geneva developed Agricultural Experiment Station varieties reflect their Finger Lakes origins.)
We didn’t find the Interlaken’s flavor to be as pronounced, but I’d still take them any day over a bland Thompson.
The two seeded, purple varieties have some weeks left to go. They’ll likely be turned into juice, but if I carve out a couple of hours, I’d like to try making a pie.
In the meantime, the peaches, protected from the squirrels for weeks now by a net, have swollen into red blushed golden globes weighing the branches of the tree down almost to the ground. The heady fragrance drifting toward me as I plucked tomatoes the other night signalled that harvest time had finally come.
Kevin lifted the net and plucked one to test.
His eyes were wide with amazement after taking that first bite.
“That is excellent,” he exclaimed, handing me the dripping fruit. “You picked a good peach, baby.”
Our very own peaches. Harvested right in our front yard.