America’s love affair with stone fruit is iconic—a cherry pie in the windowsill shouts U.S.A. as loudly as the red bandana tucked in Bruce Springsteen’s jeans. But nowhere is stone fruit more beloved than the South. That’s why we devoted part of our July issue to a love fest for peaches, plums, nectarines, and cherries with recipes for our Easiest Peach Cobbler ever (for real though, you don’t even have to get out a peeler) and zingy Orange-Basil Macerated Cherries floating on a cloud of ricotta.
For more ideas on how to use our favorite fruits of summer, we asked three of our friends why they ❤ stone fruit: Chef Hugh Acheson whose latest cookbook focuses on fruits and veggies, and peach power couple Steven and Jessica Rose of Nashville’s The Peach Truck. (Follow them on Instagram for mega-cute pictures of their new baby daughter Florence Evergreen Rose.)
Stephen and Jessica Rose
The Peach Truck
The husband-wife team behind The Peach Truck, a mobile farmers market delivering Georgia-grown peaches to Nashville via their 1964 Jeep Gladiator and nationwide via their Farm-to-Porch boxes.
We love stone fruit because… everyone has that memory of eating the perfect peach, and it’s so much bigger than a peach. It’s like that one great song that brings you back to a moment in your life. It’s really special.
Pro tip: A great peach isn’t always the prettiest peach, and the best peach is the one that’s just picked off the tree.
Go-to recipe: Once you’re done grilling your main meal, put freestone peaches on the grill, turn the heat off, and shut the lid. Right when you’re thinking, “What should we have for dessert?” those things are caramelized to perfection. With a little vanilla ice cream, it’s so decadent but you didn’t do anything.
How the South’s love for stone fruit has grown: Farmers markets are really helping people’s perception of what these fruits actually taste like. There’s definitely a love affair starting here in Nashville now that we’ve been able to give people a peach just hours from being picked right from the tree instead. People talk to us with tears in their eyes that they haven’t had that taste since they were in 4th grade with their grandpa.
The award-winning chef, author, and judge on TV’s Top Chef. His latest book, The Broad Fork, spotlights seasonal recipes for over 50 fruits and vegetables from blackberries to kohlrabi.
I love stone fruit because… you identify with their tastes historically in your mind. When you bite into a peach or a plum, you have that state of déjà vu — you’ve been there a number of times, but you always know it’s going to be wonderful.
Pro tip: The perfect peach is like the perfect tomato. There are rarely foods that are so exquisite on their own, like stone fruits, that nothing else needs to be done to them. Don’t muck them up or add too much sugar.
Go-to recipe: I make a lot of plum clafoutis. People think that they’re difficult, but it’s just making a pancake batter, pouring it over fruit and butter, and baking it in the oven. Plums can also add so much in the way of just a simple salad. Adding plums to arugula, a dry cheese, and a red wine vinaigrette is really going to let them shine.
How the South’s love for stone fruit has grown: Southerners are getting back into a belief for local stone fruit production. We’re searching for varietals we haven’t grown in a long time and might potentially lose. We still have a reverence for these fruits.
For more of our latest collection of stone fruit recipes, check out our July issue or click here.