August is a peachy month for picking peaches
August is National Peach Month, and it marks the height of Virginia’s peach season, typically mid-May through late August.
Peaches first originated in northwestern China, and today they are grown in numerous countries.
Virginia, along with California, Georgia, New Jersey and South Carolina, possesses soils and climates well-suited to peach tree cultivation.
“I’ve grown up in this industry all my life, and there’s nothing like the first peach of the season,” said Cynthia Chiles, co-owner of Chiles Peach Orchard in Albemarle County. The Chiles family operates two other orchards, Carter Mountain and Spring Valley.
Summer is prime peach-picking time, which makes August an ideal month to dabble with a traditional peach cobbler recipe−or branch out and create a modern peach salsa.
“We love offering freshly picked and pick-your-own peaches during the summer,” said Terry Lintecum, co-owner of Fruit Hill Orchard in Fluvanna County. “There truly is nothing that compares to the flavor of a tree-ripened fresh peach.”
There are more than a handful of pick-your-own peach orchards across Virginia, and many of them host community events during National Peach Month.
The 8th Annual Peach Day Festival at Graves’ Mountain Lodge in Madison County will be held July 27. Participants can enjoy peach ice cream and peach cobbler, along with hot dogs and hamburgers, craft vendors, hayrides and more. The lodge’s swimming pool will be open to the public for $5 per person.
The Virginia State Peach Festival will take place Aug. 16 in DeHart Park in Patrick County. Festivalgoers can enjoy live music, local peach treats and access to a pool.
The Meadows of Dan Folk Fair will be held Aug. 17 at the Meadows of Dan community building in Patrick County. The event will feature local peaches and baked treats, along with rides and crafts.
Richard’s Peach Festival at Richard’s Fruit Market in Winchester will be held Aug. 18. Participants can explore tasting tables, a petting zoo, hayrides and peach foods and drinks.