"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." - Julia Child

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Pick and Crumble Peaches

Forbes has a delicious and diverse fruit bowl, with the most renowned and abundant local fruits being the grape, peach, cherry and olive. Of all of these fruits Forbes is most famous for its peaches.

The peach found its way to Forbes from its native home in China the mid 1800's. In China the peach tree has been cultivated for thousands of years and is revered by the Chinese as the 'tree of life'. The warm humid subtropical climate of Forbes creates ideal growing conditions for peaches.

There a few peach orchards in Forbes producing over many tonnes of peaches per year. A farm gate store at Forbes's Betland's Orchard sells peaches by the box in November and December every year.

Growth of a peach tree

Peach trees have a life span of just under fifty years though their peak productive life lasts just 12 years. The peach trees productivity changes throughout its life

Year one through to three the peach does not produce any fruit and is still growing toward reproductive maturity.

Year four through to eight are peak productivity years. During these years the most prolific varieties of peaches produce up to 2,500 boxes per acre.

From year eight to 12 the plant begins to reduce its productivity, by year 12 the plant is replaced by a younger, more productive peach tree.

Lifecycle of a peach

In winter, when temperatures reach around seven degrees Celsius dormancy is triggered which is critical to the lifecycle of the peach plant.

There are two types of peach dormancy the first is known as rest dormancy, which is followed by Quiescence. During rest dormancy key chemical reactions occur that set the conditions in place for blossoms in spring. Rest typically occurs around June in Forbes peach farms.

Quiescence is a second type of dormancy following rest which occurs when the temperature reaches levels conducive to growth and buds break through. Quiescence dormancy typically occurs in September in Forbes.

Fruiting commences with the first bud and completes at harvest. The transformation of a peach fruit from a flower requires pollination. Pollen transference can be accomplished by bees or wind. Fruiting occurs from September to November in Forbes.

Peach trees have flowers with both male and female reproductive parts. Insects, which are attracted to the flowers' brilliant colours, carry pollen from male anthers to female pistil to pollinate the peach flowers.

The peach is a drupe or stone fruit and consists totally of tissue of ovarian origin. The outer fuzzy skin is called the exocarp, the edible flesh is called the mesocarp, and the hard pit is called the endocarp.

There are three key phases of Fruiting.

Phase One, Cell division
Cell division occurs in the mesocarp or flesh of the fruit and lasts for around 50 days. In this phase the seed grows to achieve its maximum length.

Phase Two, Pit hardening
Phase two can last a few days or a few weeks depending on the variety of peach. During Phase two the outside of the skin changes very little but within the peach the pit hardens and the embryo which grew in Phase one develops a primary root and two leaves.

Phase Three, Final swell
This is the final stage of rapid growth where the cells of the flesh formed in Phase one enlarge.

Picking the best peaches

You can pick your own peaches at the Forbes orchards. Look for smooth unbruised peaches and handle them carefully to protect them from bruising. A rich bodied aroma will tell you when the peach is ripe.

Honest farming

Peach Crumble

A great way to celebrate the abundance of peaches is by baking a traditional peach crumble.


Crumble filling

1 kilo of peaches cut into 2 centimeter wedges (6 cups)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 teaspoons corn flour

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Crumble topping

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup light-brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt


Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Make the filling: combine peaches, sugar, lemon juice, corn flour, and salt. Transfer to a 20 centimetre square baking dish.

To make the topping beat butter and brown sugar on a medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add flour and salt and, with your hands, mix the topping together Scatter over filling.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, cover with a tent of foil after 30 minutes.

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