I drove down to Morgan Hill with friends this weekend for an orchard tour and tasting of more than 50 varieties of heirloom and propagated peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, and pluots.
It was amazing, to say the least, to be able to compare Arctic Jay side by side with Kaleidoscope donut nectarines and then move on to Inca plums and Sierra Blanca peaches. Not surprisingly, looks can be deceiving. Some spectacular looking peaches had less impressive flavor, while some very ugly nectarines and pluots were dazzling. Incas, Kaleidoscopes, Spun Golds, Stark Sweethearts, and Flavor Grenades were among my favorites, making me wish I had the job to name new fruits.
Andy Mariani's family has owned the orchard for 50+ years, and after the tasting, we headed out in the orchards to pick fruit to take home.
This was the last tasting and tour of the summer, but the farmstand is open throughout the season, if you're nearby and want to try what's freshly picked. Mostly $2.50 per pound, versus $2 for what we picked. The tasting and tour cost $15.
I was too busy eating and scribbling to take pictures of the fresh fruit; and picking peaches is a two-handed job. But the flats of sundried fruit were gorgeous too.
1615 Half Rd, Morgan Hill, CA 95037