The famed Fay Elberta peach has arrived. For weeks, fans of this fuzzy, old-time yellow peach have eagerly awaited its fine texture, sweet and somewhat spicy aroma, and its rich flavor.
Adding to the anticipation, cooler than normal weather pushed the peach's harvest back a week or two. Several farms are still at least a week away from picking. Farmers won't pick these tender peaches until they have achieved their maximum sweetness and distinctive red blush.
Fresno farmer Mary Lou Hurtado's customers have rapidly been filling her voice mail, wanting to know when her peaches will be ready. She runs a fruit stand on Dower Avenue, just west of Highway 99.
"I am not kidding when I say that I have more than 100 messages," said Hurtado, of Peach on Earth Farms. "People really like this peach."
Among Hurtado's regulars is Lynne Smith of Kerman. Smith likes the Elberta for its flavor, vibrant yellow color and sweetness. It's a good peach for canning, and for pie and cobbler recipes, Smith said.
"It's the peach that a lot of people grew up with and the one we wait for every year," Smith said.
And don't wait too long to pick some up. The Elberta season is relatively short, about 10 days to two weeks for most farmers.
Here's a partial list of where to buy Elberta peaches, including the Fayette, a closely related variety, in the central San Joaquin Valley.
Dave Lewis Farms
The farm will have a limited supply at the Fresno Farmers Market at Fulton Avenue and San Joaquin Street. The market is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Advance orders also are available while the supply lasts. Call Claudia Sersland of Dave Lewis Farms to ask about availability.
More info: (559) 259-8884
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-noon, Mondays-Saturdays.
Location: 1728 W. Whitesbridge Ave.
More info: (559) 485-7618
Kamimoto's Elbertas are ready for harvesting and will be available for about one week.
Knowles' Farm, Fowler
Donna Knowles expects her Elberta peaches to be ready by Aug. 15. Customers can call and order in advance or buy them at the ranch
Location: 7175 S. Peach Ave., Fowler, 9 a.m to 5 p.m.
More info: (559) 834-3666
Masumoto Family Farm
By application only.
More info: masumoto.com .
Del Rey farmer and author David Mas Masumoto allows folks to adopt Fay Elberta peach trees on his farm. The adoptive families pick their own peaches at harvest time.
The 2011 adoption program is closed, but the Masumotos will take applications for the 2012 harvest in January. Go to the website for more information.
Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Location: Millbrook and Alluvial avenues.
More info: (559) 439-0104
Paul Mesple expects his Elberta peaches to be ready for picking by Monday.
Peach on Earth Farm
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Location: 4941 N. Dower Avenue, just south of Shaw Avenue.
More info: (559) 843-2333 or peachonearthfarms.com .
Mary Lou Hurtado's Elbertas are expected to be available by Saturday.
PK Fruit Farms
Parry Klassen anticipates his Elberta peaches will be ready by Monday. His peaches can be bought at Bella Frutta, southeast corner of Shepherd and Willow avenues in Clovis and at the Centerville Fruit Stand on Highway 180 in Centerville.
Also, you buy Elbertas at his farm that is northwest of Reedley. Visit his website for more details – pkfruitfarms.com .
Steve Lubisich's farm stand
Hours: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, Sundays by appointment only.
Location: Nees Avenue, just west of Willow Avenue.
More info: (559) 217-2001.
Lubisich's farm is known for late harvests of Fay Elberta peaches, so start checking with him next week for availability. His stand is behind a home on Nees Avenue, just west of Willow Avenue. Look for the sign that says "Peaches," and then turn into the driveway.
Wawona Orchards, The Peach Tree fruit stand
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
Location: Minnewawa Avenue, just north of Nees Avenue.
More info: (559) 299-2901
The Peach Tree offers Fay Elberta peaches and Fayettes.