The perfect peach

The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm
By Marcy, Nikiko and David Mas Masumoto
Ten Speed Press 2013
168 pages
Source: Personal Copy

The information and stories in this book are fascinating. And there are delightful recipes. Since I grew up on a farm, too, albeit an Iowa dairy farm, I connect with the Masumoto family, even though their place and history are vastly different from mine. Nikiko gives us “Peach Education”, and Marcy writes about lessons she’s learned cooking peaches. Mas relates varied information from mistakes he’s made as a farmer to information about peach varieties. His piece entitled “Ghosts of Farmworkers” brought to mind scenes set in the orchards in the novel The Orchardist (see previous post on the Home Page). Mas Masumoto is a respectful and thoughtful man. I’m glad such a person is growing food. I consider it a noble calling.

This is a food book that first appeared in one of my earlier blogs: Cookbook Choices. I subsequently choose it for purchase at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs. The authors are members of the Masumoto family. Their farm is located near Fresno in California’s Central Valley.

Thanks to the book’s jacket, I can tell you that Mas is an organic peach and grape farmer, and writer who has a previously published book and is currently a columnist for the Fresno Bee. His wife Marcy is a co-owner of the farm. She selects peach varieties and develops recipes and products. Daughter Nikiko grew up on the farm and works there full-time as an apprentice and artist.

An interesting feature of the book’s recipes is the flavors that are paired: pesto and peaches, blue cheese and peaches, ginger and onions as ingredients in Marcy’s Peach Chutney. Other pairings are naturals: pork and peaches, peaches and blackberries, peaches and oranges.

Nostalgia grabs me again in this book when I read about pickled peaches. Pickled peaches were a staple on the table of my maternal grandparents and at my mother’s table. I didn’t know I missed them until I met them again in this book. According to Nikiko , the recipe in The Perfect Peach comes from a Japanese Cucumber Salad. I’m not sure of the origin of my grandparents’ pickled peaches, but I know it was not Japanese Cucumber Salad. Still, I want to try this recipe and see if it echos the pickled peaches of my youth.

Mas is a gifted writer who can convey his understandings of the food world, his vision, and his vocation. He emphasizes his many partners in creating a perfect peach. He gives credit to all the workers involved. His essay “Letting Go: The Death of an Old Farmer” is a beautiful loving piece of writing about life and death and his Dad. Nearly every page in this book offers surprise and insight.

Much pleasure yet awaits as I spend time with the stories, the recipes and the information presented in this beautiful book. Staci Valentine delivers photos that enhance every kind of food. I found the graphic design of the book added to the ease of reading the different types of text and significantly increased the reading experience.

More information can be found at their website.


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