CELEBRATING NORTH CAROLINA PEACHES
By: Heidi Billotto of Heidi Billotto Food I Charlotte
It’s time for the 25th annual Peach Festival in Candor NC, July 13-15; and this year, the celebration continues on with the first ever Peach Week in Pinehurst and Southern Pines. It’s all happening with the onset of peach season, a time when nothing says summer like a bowl, box, basket or bushel full of NC peaches.
Two more great events just happen to conincide with the celebration of 2023 Peach Week. While you are in the area, don’t miss Bluesfest, a two-day music festival, July 14-15 at the Sunrise Theatre in Southern Pines. More info and tickets
And if you love baseball, you won’t want to miss “Life is a Peach” Night with the Sandhills Bogeys on Sunday, July 16. Come watch the defending Old North State League champion Sandhills Bogeys as they take on the High Point Hushpuppies at Bogeys Field located at Sandhills Community College. Baseball bonus: the first 100 fans get a free scoop of Peach Ice Cream. Doors open at 4 pm, the game starts at 5 pm. Tickets and more info
It all takes place from July 13 – 15, 10 am – 4 pm. 145 Depot Street in Candor, NC. Don’t miss it for tons of family fun. More info here
Located at 1348 Tabernacle Church Rd in Candor, Johnson’s Peaches, in business for 80 + years, is a regular stop for folks traveling through the Sandhills for the North Carolina beaches. When you stop, know its all cash – no credit cards – and don’t miss the delicious homemade peach dumplings. You could order them without ice cream on the side, but that would be a mistake.
Plan to come for the NC Peach festival, but tag on some time and stay for the week – or at least part of it – and plan to enjoy all the peach perfect fun. For more on where to stay in the area, check here.
Thursday, July 20, 6:30 – 8:00 PM at the FirstHealth Fitness Center at 170 Memorial Dr in Pinehurst, NC. The proceeds from the fun run to benefit FirstHealth Cancer CARE Fund. Participants will receive Ice cream at the finish line compliments of Stellar Scoops in Robbins, NC, healthy snacks, water bottles, stickers and more. Cost to enter is $10. More info
On Tuesday July 8, tee it up on the beautiful Bottlebrush short course at Longleaf Golf and Family Club while enjoying some peach refreshments and prizes! For $15 per person, compete for tournament prizes for first through third place and closest to the pin on all holes. Adults can enjoy complimentary peach beer from Pinehurst Brewing Company while the kids indulge in peach ice cream. Registration is open to the first 50 people – call the pro shop at 910.692.6100 for all the details.
If you are looking for fabulous crafted NC cider and beer in the Sandhills, there are many choices; but James Creek Cider House is one of my personal faves. Read more about them here… in a post I wrote several years ago… scroll to the end of the post for info on James Creek and the recipes for 2 of my favorite James Creek Cider cocktails.
And then, plan on joining the crew at James Creek for peach cider slushies and a Peach A Palooza on Saturday July 22 from 2-7 pm with free tastings, tours of the orchards & cidery; Live music and of course, fresh picked peaches. James Creek Cider House is located at 172 US-1 HIghway in Cameron, NC.
Adults will love it, too! The curtain opens at the Sunrise Theater , 250 NW Broad Street, in Southern Pines at 6pm for a showing of – what else – James and Giant Peach. Seats are limited, but everyone who brings in a can of store-bought peaches to donate to the Sandhills Food Bank will receive FREE admission. Movie-goers will also enjoy a special appearance by the NC Peach Blossom.
Attending the annual peach festival and this year’s peach week are a great way to support all the local Moore County peach farmers, restaurants and chefs and local businesses who have worked so hard to put this week-long celebration together. Go and shop local and share the love. #TellThemHeidiSentYou
Open both Saturdays of Peach Week, and you can bet NC peaches will be at the forefront of all the local produce and proteins.
As you can imagine, there are more than a few in this peachy part of the OLd North State. Last week, in preparation for writing this article, I took a quick trip to the Sandhills ( only a 90 minute drive from Charlotte) and stopped at a number of them including Chappell Peaches and Kalawi Farm both in Eagle Springs. Buy peaches and blueberries, too. If you are on the hunt for the best ice cream in these parts, don’t miss Ben’s Homemade Ice Cream located at Kalawi Farms.
Bens has ice cream for doggies and a delicious assortment of homemade flavors for people too. Of course, this time of year, peach ice cream is always tempting and strawberry is a close second. But in this case, I took the advice of the lovely gals behind the counter at Bens and ordered a waffle cone of Banana pudding ice cream. Take it from me, it’s a must try!
If you like to cook and want to preserve the wonderful taste of NC peaches all year long, then, you’ll love 3-Hour Peach Preservation Workshop Workshop
It all happens on July 20 from 2-5pm at the Moore County Agricultural Building 707 Pinehurst Avenue, in Carthage. Presented by the Moore Cooperative Extension Service. Cost is $20. More info.
If you have any questions about where to stay or what else to do while you are in the Sandhills, you will find all the answers and more in this Peach Week section at the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen area Home of American Golf website.
Aside from the annual Peach festival, and all the other Peach Week festivities, plan to explore area restaurants featuring specially-made fresh peach menu items and vote on your favorite ones! Take it from me, there are so many delicious places to eat in and around Moore County. The list includes: Ashten’s Restaurant, Bell Tree Tavern, Chef Warren’s. Elliott’s on Linden, Mason’s Restaurant and Grocery, Ironwood Cafe, Pizzaria Grazia, Scott’s Table, Time and Place Catering and Wolcotts among the Moore County restaurants participating in Peach Week; plus there are lots of area breweries taking part, too.. Stop in at each to try all the peachy goodness and vote for your favorites. If you find a place not on the official list, there is even a place to write in your vote!
Did you know that North Carolina is the North Carolina is the seventh-highest producer of peaches in the United States, and our peach farmers grow an average of 3.6 million pounds for market each year.
In the late 1800’s, early 1900s peach farming was a huge success is Georgia – peach trees loved the sandy soil there. Farmers looked north to expand their success and landed in the sanding soil area in and around Candor, NC, in Montgomery and Moore counties. And so it began…and, that’s why now the Sandhills are the Peach Capital of North Carolina
This fun 3 hour food tour takes place on Saturday July 22, Foodie Tours is partnering up with the Sandhills Trolley Company to bring you mobile food tours. Take full advantage of Peach Week by tasting different peach themed meals, stopping by a local fruit stand and having some peach drinks! This tour features a variety of peach themed stops and drinks, all included in the price. This tour is open to those 12 and up! More info and to book reservations
Among the July 16 fun, plan to take in the Power Cars & Peaches event at Weymouth Center in Southern Pines from 1pm-4pm. Stroll the shady grounds of the beautiful Weymouth Center while seeing classic and vintage cars thanks to the Sandhills Motoring Festival. Games for kids, live music, food trucks, free ice cream and a peach scavenger hunt are all a part of the fun. This event is free for the public to enjoy. More info
Taste North Carolina Peach Wine in the heart of Carthage at The Tyson Sinclair building at Watering Cans Wine Bar located at 1-5 McReynolds Street in Carthage, NC. This is a complimentary wine tasting available Wednesday July 19 – Saturday July 22, 1-7 pm. More info
on Saturday July 15 at 6 pm, Get Your Art Buzz On at Wine & Design in Southern Pines. No artistic talent needed as they will guide you step by step to complete your very own take home masterpiece. The class is 2 hours long and is BYOB; bring your favorite wine/beer, food/snacks, ice, coolers, cups, bottle/wine openers and utensils. Cost is $37. Reservations and more info here
Look for my 2023 peachy post coming up soon; and in the meantime, enjoy this recipe for Peach Granita I originally wrote for the Charlotte Uptown Farmers Market Newsletter. Enjoy!
Peel and slice the peaches and mash them by hand or puree ina blender or food processor.
Add water; mix well. Sweeten to taste with sugar ( Note: you may not need any sugar at all!)
Pour the puree into a 8×8 inch baking pan; cover withplastic wrap and freeze.
When the mix is frozen solid, use the tines of a fork toscrap up the frozen mix. Spoon the frozen “shavings” into another container;cover tightly and store in the freezer.
When you are ready to serve, spoon the granita into serving cups. If you’d like to create a parfait, use stemmed cups and layer with fresh blueberries or blackberries; serve topped with sprigs of mint or basil and enjoy this refreshing treat!