Early predictions for a record-setting peach crop seem to have been borne out by the harvest, the Texas Department of Agriculture reports.
Spokesman Bryan Black says the state won't know for sure whether the statewide harvest will surpass previous tallies until statistics are officially compiled in July, but it's certain the season's an improvement over the past three years, when farms were slammed by drought and late-spring freezes.
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"It's everything they were hoping for," Black says of the crop, which was enthusiastically celebrated with peach pies, peach ice cream and a rodeo at the annual Stonewall Peach Jamboree last weekend. "We've had fantastic weather and the right amount of rain."
And, according to the Hill Country Fruit Council's website, the just-plucked peaches' flavor is "exceptionally good."
Dallas chefs are making use of the bounty, featuring Texas-grown peaches in dishes like chef Scott Gottlich's new dessert at Bijoux. As one of the restaurant's first-ever a la carte offerings, Gottlich is preparing a tempura-fried peach with white balsamic vinegar and cream fraiche ice cream.
Over at Blue Mesa Grill, the honchos have declared the month of June a "corn and peach festival" at their five locations, offering pork loin with peach habanero salsa and a peach-and-muddled-blueberry margarita