- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2002

Picking peaches may seem easy. In reality, it's an art. Take a few tips from local experts.
Do the twist. Twist the peach gently with the pad of the thumb and forefinger, says Lynne Phillips, office manager at Stribling Orchard in Markham, Va. If it doesn't come off the branch easily, it's not ripe. Squeezing the peach will bruise it, and yanking is worse. "Yanking will cause 20 other peaches to fall to the ground and be wasted," Ms. Phillips says.
Dress against bees and sun. Perfume, or any scent, will draw bees and bugs, Ms. Phillips says. Avoid it. Wear extra sunscreen. Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants serve to protect against both bugs and sun. A hat helps.
Beware the fuzz. Most peach lovers are familiar only with grocery store peaches, which have been handled so much they have lost their fuzz. But orchard peaches are plenty fuzzy, and peach fuzz itches. "That's another reason why you should wear long sleeves and pants," says Glenn Little, who tends the produce stand at Cherry Hill Orchard in Piscataway. But there's an antidote: "All you need to do is rinse the exposed areas with a little soap and water," Mr. Little says.
Pick early or late. Everyone advises that peach fanciers take their pick in the early morning or late afternoon when the temperatures are lower.
Joanne Lukens

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