Savoring the Last Days of Summer
Summer is all the sweeter because it never seems to last long enough. Soak up some rays and decompress while you can. To make the most of what remains of the season, try these rejuvenating ideas.
Pick peaches at a local farm
In season through July in the South and August in the North, these juicy fruits epitomize summer. Here are some tips on how to plan the ultimate peach-picking excursion:
Look for farms growing “freestone” peaches (whose fruit is easier to remove from the pit than “clingstone” varieties). Call the farm first to make sure the fields are open and to find out whether you need to bring containers. Pack water, snacks, sunscreen, and essential oil-based bug spray; and arrive in the morning before the trees are picked bare.
Ripe fruit will be easy to remove from trees. Since peaches won’t ripen further after picking, choose fruits that give slightly to the touch and smell sweet. Pull gently straight off branches, using the sides of your fingers. Carefully place in the container, without overloading—you don’t want to squash fruit on the bottom.
Store peaches in the vegetable drawer in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze fruit you’ll keep longer than a few days.
Consider planting a peach pit to grow your own tree. Just clean the pit and store in a plastic bag in the fridge until the early fall. Then bury it about five inches below the surface of the soil. Once growth becomes visible in the spring, water and fertilize. Expect fruit in two or three years.
The practice might sound odd but couldn’t be simpler. Just spend time in the woods, with no distractions other than the sounds, smells, and sights of nature. For the most serene experience, heed these suggestions:
Check the forecast and pick a day with moderate weather.
Dress comfortably, in shoes appropriate for the terrain. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and essential oil-based bug spray. Bring a small pack with water and snacks.
Choose a densely wooded area that you know well.
Stow away your phone.
Walk slowly, taking in interesting sights, like a moss-covered log, vibrantly hued leaf, or tiny frog. Breathe deeply.
Host an annual end-of-summer BBQ
To build community and create memories that last, gather your friends and family to celebrate the last few days of heat and ease. For inspiration, consider the following:
Set up classic backyard games, like cornhole, horseshoes, and badminton. Award fun, seasonal prizes to the winners, like popsicle makers, a whimsical inflatable pool float, or tropical straws.
Play classic summertime tunes every age guest will appreciate. Think: “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, and “Vacation” by the Go-Go’s.
Inside your home, arrange a DIY sandwich bar, with a range of fillings (like sliced meats), breads, and condiments (mustards, chutney, mayo, and pesto). Don’t forget fresh veggies with a variety of dips (like whipped muhammara).
Hydrate your guests with refreshing lemon water and watermelon juice. To make the latter, puree seedless melon with cold water and a hint of lime juice and salt. Serve over ice.
For dessert, grill halves of peaches (maybe some you picked yourself) and top with scoops of ice cream.
Keep a record of your new annual tradition. Record the menu, guest list, and highlights of each BBQ.
n.d., Peach and Nectarine Facts, Picking Tips and Recipes. Retrieved from pickyourown.org
Prelle, M. (2018 Sep 20). There’s No Running in Forest Bathing. Uncommon Path, retrieved from rei.com
Lowery, T. (2022 Jul 1). The 60 greatest summer songs of all time. Time Out, retrieved from timeout.com