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Dining In: Freestone peaches are ideal for crumb bars


All of the clingstone peaches we have been enjoying from local farms for the past month have been a prelude to the main event: freestone peach and nectarine season is here.

Full of flavor from spending more time on the trees, these peaches are the ones that are best for pies, cakes, muffins, cobblers, crisps and jams. They also are the best for tossing into salads, freezing or canning for the winter months, and enjoying fresh.

It looks like a really good season, says Gary Manoff, who owns Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury with his wife, Amy. “The flavor is great and there is lots of fruit out there,” he said.

Hail struck some local orchards while the fruit was developing, and some peaches and nectarines have slight bumps as a result. But the flavor is not affected.

The season continues into September, so there is plenty of time to enjoy them. That includes the annual Peach Festival and Summer Sidewalk Sale Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11 at Peddler’s Village in Lahaska.

The festival will feature peaches from Bechdolt Orchards in Hellertown along with a variety of peach foods, including pies, butters and jams. That festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Local growers that are now harvesting peaches include Solebury Orchards in Solebury, Penn Vermont Fruit Farm in Bedminster, Snyder Farms in Perkasie, Bedminster Orchard in Bedminster, Tabora Farms in Chalfont, The Market at DelVal in Doylestown, Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, Bolton’s Farm Market in Silverdale and Lapinski Farm in Dublin.

Peaches are great for baking; this easy recipe from can be enjoyed now or wrapped and frozen, then pulled out for the start of the school lunch season.

Peach Crumb Bars

For the dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cold and

cut into cubes

1 egg (lightly beaten)

For the filling:

5 cups diced or sliced peaches

(about 7 peaches, peeled)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, and then the egg. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan. Place the pan and the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling: Place the diced (or sliced) peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the peaches and mix gently.

Spread the peach mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days. You can also freeze them for up to two months.

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