Grocery store peaches are picked green for shipping, and can be hard as a baseball. But the tree-ripened peaches in Martha Galland's orchard in Duson are heavy with tender skin and honeyed flesh this time of year.
Galland planted her orchard in 1990. "I had cancer," she says. "My husband asked me what I wanted to do that I hadn't ever done before. I said I wanted a peach orchard. He said, 'Give me six months.'" While Galland battled her disease, they purchased the land, and within six months the couple planted 300 trees. Fifteen years later, Galland is healthy and her peaches are a great source of joy.
"South Louisiana peaches are the best," she says with pride. "We let them ripen on the tree. I can't take my peaches to fruit stands ' my peaches are too ripe. If you press on them they get finger marks and bruises in three hours. You have to come to me."
The little orchard stand is open on Fridays only this year, due to heavy rainfall in spring 2004 that killed many of the young trees. But there is still plenty to fill cardboard boxes with fresh-picked, fragrant peaches. Galland also makes homemade sweet dough peach pies as well as blackberry, strawberry, pear and fig pies, all with fruit from her garden. And the price can't be beat: peaches, available throughout the month of June, are 80 cents a pound, and sweet dough pies are $1 each.
For more information on Martha Galland's Orchard (open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Fridays), call 873-3504.
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