Peach Picking at Catoctin Mountain Orchard

Last year, my co-worker blessed me with the gift of white peaches from an orchard. Remember those Ginger Peach Muffins? Delicious! Those peaches were fresh and divine- a true gift from the Earth. Since then, I changed companies but memory of their sweetness lingered. I contacted my old co-worker and he hooked me up with the location: Catoctin Mountain Orchard. 

We piled into the ol Rav 4 and made an afternoon of it. During the ride up, we held our breaths as gray storm clouds gathered. It was the last weekend in the season- the heck with it! A little rain never hurt anybody. 

When we arrived, it was not exactly what we had in mind. They told us we couldn't physically pick the peaches which was the battle plan.  Oh well, another day!

However, they have a kick ass store with fruit readily available for the choosing. There was an assortment of jams and local goodness. I grabbed some farm fresh eggs; the yolks were so much thicker than the store bought produce! You could even purchase peach cider and peach butter! 

Outside, there is a flower garden to pick bouquets, various tree groves, and a cute playground for uh... children? Oh come on- you would totally climb into an apple castle if you saw one too.

Then trouble struck: the bakery.

Oh my. These pies were fresher than toothpaste (boo).  You can watch the baker turn them in oven and there's a myriad of flavors. The hunny bun bought the group a Peach Pecan pie which we promptly destroyed in the gazebo. It was mad good. Thank you babe!

After doing some damage in the store, we went for a stroll through the orchard. It was a little overcast, but that didn't take away from the magic. Then...  decisions, decisions. What to do with all the lovely peaches that found their way to the kitchen? Cobbler time!

This recipe comes from Cooking Lite magazine hence it's not your standard cobbler. The crust is more dense and less flaky- not quite cake and very bready. This crust soaks up flavor like it's their job. The juice of the fruit coats everything- it's scrumptious. You don't have to use white peaches for this recipe- use any kind you want! Just make sure that they're not super ripe because the texture is softer. If they're only a touch ripe, they will hold better form and not turn to mush.

Also, I halved the recipe and substituted blueberries with straight peaches  Use an 8x8 pan if you do the same. Serve with warmed with vanilla icecream!

Lite Peach Cobbler
from Cooking Lite

5 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
6 3/4 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar 

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place peaches in a large bowl. Drizzle with juice; toss. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons flour to peach mixture; toss to combine. Arrange peach mixture evenly in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Weigh or lightly spoon 6.75 ounces flour (about 1 1/2 cups) into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and baking powder in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and butter in a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in blueberries.

Spread batter evenly over peach mixture; sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.