I love peaches. Sweet and luscious, they’re my second-favorite food ever, after steamed crabs rubbed with Old Bay. In Minnesota, early-summer peaches play an unfavorable Russian roulette. Get too eager and buy a dozen and half of them are likely to be mealy. A mealy peach is the most tragic and disgusting of all fruit gambles.
But in August, the peaches peak. Colorado peaches, grown on the state’s sunny western slope, are in season. Their flesh is cohesive, like a thick custard, and they’re amazingly juicy. Sweet and tart meld into one immaculate taste. August peaches are perfect, and the best place to eat them is at the beach, with stray grains of sand snagged in their fuzz, or in a hammock. Nothing can stop me from eating a peach in the car, either. I tuck a cotton kitchen towel into my collar like I’m en route to a crawfish boil.
August peaches may taste sweetest in Minnesota, too. They’re a metaphor as much as a fruit: By August, cardinals have plundered the raspberry bushes and we’re inching back under blankets as the nights chill. Late-summer melancholia runs deep in a place that reverts to a tundra five months of every year, so we savor the last bites.
If you’re on the hunt for an August peach, look no further. Beyond local grocery stores (FWIW, the peaches I got at the Wedge Co-op last week were flawless), the absolute hottest spot for a peach right now is the Minnesota State Fair. Pull up to the Produce Exchange stand for a peach that’s halved, grilled, drizzled with honey, and topped with a dollop of goat cheese.
Elsewhere around the Cities, find an award-winning peach pie at Heather’s Pies, masterfully latticed and flaky. Vikings & Goddesses sells a tart lingonberry peach pie, and Fruit and Grain sells peaches and cream pop tarts at the Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets. Get a scoop of the fresh peach ice cream at Pumphouse Creamery on Chicago Avenue, or find a sumptuous peach cobbler at Lutunji’s Palate Bakery all year round. (The Peach Eatery makes a great cobbler, too.) Over on First Street, Spoon and Stable serves a peaches and cream dessert made with white chocolate cremeux.
Grab a peach drink while you’re at it. Indeed sells a Peach Bum IPA, and Bauhaus Brew Labs and Animales Barbeque Co. are collaborating on a blonde ale infused with smoked peaches for the state fair. The best peach brew I’ve ever had is the unfiltered, exceptionally juicy Squishy Peaches ale at Arbeiter Brewing Company.