The month before my oldest son was born, my husband and I planted a dwarf peach tree in our front yard.
I distinctly remember having to gingerly sit on the ground in my maternity overalls to even see the hole in the ground, I was so huge. In spite of the odds, we were enjoying fresh peaches off of that tree the very next year and began to look forward to future years, planning to share with family and friends, and enjoy all the peach goodies imaginable. Unfortunately, our tree had a run of bad luck last year due to overproducing and frost, and literally bent until it broke. And although it is currently reminiscent of the pitiful tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas special, I have hope it will soon be back to its full glory—and my husband and I are learning a thing or two about maintaining fruit trees in order to avoid another tragedy.
But no matter how pathetic that little tree is right now, I can’t look at it without thinking of my baby boy, now 4, and all the hopes, worries and anticipation we were feeling during that summer ... a time I am instantly transported back to when I savor a fresh-picked peach.
In the kitchen
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One of the best things about this fruit is its juiciness and the feeling you get when your teeth pierce the taut skin, sinking into the sweet flesh underneath. Not only are peaches delicious, but they also are antioxidant-rich, offering beta carotene and vitamins A, C and E to help neutralize free radicals and protect cells.1
Originally from China, peaches date as far back in recorded history as 10th century BC and got their name in 300 BC from the Greek philosopher Theophrastus, who named the peach for the country from which he thought it originated—Persia. The peach is round with a downy yellowish-red skin and a rough pit in the middle. It can be eaten alone, made into a jam, frozen or used in desserts, entreés, appetizers and soups, adding a fresh, sweet note to any dish.2
Spa cuisine chefs commonly use peaches to add a seasonal, healthy twist to otherwise traditional dishes, such as the Peach and Ginger Salmon served at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas. At Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah, the Honey and Sage Baked Peaches With Honey, Pistachio and Blue Cheese serve as an interesting dessert; as does the Pesche al Forno, or Roasted Summer Peach, offered last summer at Kenwood Inn & Spa in Kenwood, California. In Brooklet, Australia, at Gaia Retreat & Spa, the Lady Behind the Veil entreé features ripe peaches and nectarines paired with translucent daikon slices and Davidson plum dressing; and Peach Melba can be enjoyed at Deerfield Spa in East Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania. Also, check out the recipe for Peach Gazpacho from Executive Chef Jason Graham of Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista, California.
In the spa
Peaches are a rich source of alpha hydroxy fruit acids, which help slough off dead cells. Their vitamin A and C content also helps nourish new cells. Peach juice can aid in unclogging pores, reducing blemishes, lightening age spots and reducing wrinkles, as well.3
Spa-Q, with various locations throughout China, offers The Spirit of Chengdu treatment on its Pure Indulgence menu, featuring a unique scrub that combines peaches and sea salt; and the Carolina Peach Nourisher, a full-body exfoliation using a peach and pecan scrub followed by a peach-scented shea butter, is offered at The Spa at Pinehurst at the Pinehurt Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina. At Tree of Life Day Spa in Bar Harbor, Maine, the organic Strawberry-Peach Enzyme Peel gently exfoliates skin; and the Peaches and Cream Sugar Scrub at Kelly’s Spa at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, offers a body exfoliation topped off with a peach hydrating cream. The Fuzzy Navel Hand and Foot Treatment at Spa e in Miami Beach, Florida, involves a peach-infused paraffin treatment; and the Apricot-Peach Body Polish from Mandela Wellness Retreat & Spa in Sautee, Georgia, gently exfoliates, leaving skin soft and improving circulation. Also, take a look at the treatment how-to for the Peaches and Cream Manicure & Pedicure from The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta.
Professional products are including peach as a main ingredient, too, both for its summery scent and skin care abilities. Éminence Organic Skin Care’s Peach Masque helps revitalize, refresh and rejuvenate facial skin, and BABOR’s Mild Peeling product gently exfoliates and smoothes using finely ground peach pits. OPI’s Peach Juicie lotion is scented like just-picked peaches, and Szép Élet’s ilike organic skin care’s Peach Mask nurtures, hydrates and recharges the skin.
Make it memorable
Whether you introduce the esthetic, health and skin care benefits of this fruit to clients through products or cuisine, the spa is a perfect place for a peach pick-me-up. And who knows what memories the flavor and scent of a fresh-picked peach might inspire in your clients.
1. www.calclingpeach.com/html/rcpe_consum/main_antioxidant.html (Accessed Feb 11, 2009)
2. www.thefruitpages.com/peaches.shtml (Accessed Feb 11, 2009)
3. www.care2.com/greenliving/peaches-kitchen-cupboard-beauty.html (Accessed Feb 11, 2009)
4. www.sundiafruit.com/funfacts-peaches.php (Accessed Feb 12, 2009)