The Masumotos’ The Perfect Peach

August is National Peach Month, and peaches are at their peak here in the Northeast. But if you live elsewhere in the United States–namely, places that are conducive to successfully growing peaches–chances are, you’ve been eating locally grown peaches for a few months already. That’s one thing I learned from reading The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm (Ten Speed Press). Masumoto Family Farm is known for their peaches and their love for the fruit knows no bounds. The varied voices of the Masumoto family–David Mas, his wife Marcy, and their daughter Nikiko–showcase the joys and challenes they face both in the marketplace and in the fields. Of course, the recipes showcase the crown jewel of their farm: peaches. In this book, not only will you find delectable recipes (Peach Margarita, Rolled Pork Loin, Stuffed French Toast, and Hearty Peach Cobbler) and tips on how to judge a peach ripe enough to pick off a tree, but a story of a farm being passed on from generation to generation. Nikiko (pictured to the right, in between her parents David and Marcy) took some time to answer questions about what it’s like to be a young farmer apprentice, what the challenges are when running an organic operation, and how to best get rid of peach fuzz. We also have three delicious recipes to try, including a refreshing ginger peach soda. Epicurious: What does it mean to be working on the family farm? Was this something you wanted to do, growing up? Nikiko Masumoto: I have just begun to be able to articulate the richness of what I’m experiencing as a fourth-generation family farmer. I am Yonsei, fourth-generation Japanese-American, and my great-grandparents, who emigrated to the US from Japan, worked in the fields their entire lives. There are no borders between family and work. We live, sweat, create, hope, and dream together. My place in the lineage of my family history in agriculture is just beginning to emerge, but I know that who I am, how I farm, and what the farm might become is inextricably linked to the family I am lucky to live with and come from. My family was interned during World War II, and afterward, my jiichan (grandpa) returned to the Valley to literally plant roots in a land that did not want him, did not treat him as an equal citizen, solely because he was Japanese-American. I believe his most radical act was to plant roots in American soil, to claim a place of belonging. I am deeply grateful for his choice to farm. I could not farm without the resilience that my family has taught, and continues to teach me. That same spirit of resilience and courage is what I see in my parents who transitioned the farm to organic when organics were completely marginalized. They never gave up and worked through tough early years when they lost money, they stayed on the land and raised my brother and I with the…

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