Free The Stone: The Difference Between Clingstone and Freestone Peaches

I’m not sure about you but I count down the days to peach season each year. Something about these sweet, yet tart fruits just screams summertime. So at the first chance I get, I head over D’Amico’s Farm Stand in Closter, New Jersey and buy some fresh peaches. What I love about D’Amico’s is the fact that the owner of this 60-year family-run business, John D’Amico, only sources from small farms within a 200-mile radius of Closter. That means, most of his delicious, freshly picked fruits and vegetables come from south Jersey, which is at the heart of the Garden State. D’Amico’s has clingstone fruit until the summer reaches its apex of heat and then begins offering freestone. So, what’s the difference?

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Clingstone peaches from Southern Jersey at D’Amico’s farm stand in Closter, NJ

At first glance, there is no difference between a clingstone and freestone peach, both fuzzy and reddish-pink on the outside. On the inside, however, is where the difference lies. The best way to figure out if your peaches are clingstone or freestone is by slicing the peach down the middle and pulling it apart. If the pit falls out easily, it is freestone. If not, clingstone.

Clingstone peaches are those that when opened, the pit sticks to the pulpy flesh of the fruit. According to goodhousekeeping.com, these peaches are rarely sold in stores but are used mostly in canned fruit. Depending on the location of the peach farm, harvest season for clingstones can range from mid-May to early August. But use them as long as you can! Their large and juicy peach-ness can be used to make great jellies, jams, purees and fantastic summer dishes.

Freestone peaches, on the other hand, separate easily from the fruit. Although larger and less juicy in texture, they are still undeniably sweet. Again, depending on the grower, freestones can be harvested from mid-June to early October. Generally freestone peaches last later into the season than clingstone peaches. They are perfect for cooking because they slice easily and uniformly, making them well-suited to great pie recipes that will leave your guests’ mouths watering.

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One of the best things about summer is the availability of fresh peaches. So whether you enjoy peaches in purees or in pies, these yummy fruits are the perfect means for sweetening up your summer.

 

-Contributions made by Sam Donsky

A Quick Q & A With Goffle Road Poultry Farm, Wyckoff, NJ

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Thanksgiving traditionally means poultry, even if the pilgrims feasted on shellfish and the bounty of their first harvest.  Who better to talk turkey with than Goffle Road Poultry Farm, a third generation fresh kill poultry and egg farm in Wyckoff, NJ.  The family-run business offers free range chicken fryers, roasters and turkeys along with specialty game such as pigeon, quail, pheasant, goose, guinea hens, duck and capon (owner Joe Silvestri’s personal favorite).  Specially prepared items such as chicken sausage, chicken and turkey chopped meat and chicken thigh and breast cutlets (sliced in various thicknesses) are also available along with eggs of all sizes and double-yoke varieties.

To gain a little insight into the poultry world I spoke with George Wescott who has worked at Goffle Poultry Farm for over a decade.  Goffle Road strictly prohibits the use of any steroids or antibiotics in their operations.  They believe their farming methods result in poultry that is healthier and tastier than what can be found in grocery stores.  (I agree.)  Here’s what George had to say:

How many turkeys do you sell around Thanksgiving?

During the Thanksgiving holiday we end up selling around 12,000 turkeys in addition to tons of geese, chickens, ducks, and other poultry.

Are you still taking orders for the holiday?

Yes, we are accepting orders until this Saturday, November 23rd and people can pick their poultry up Sunday through Wednesday.  Normally we aren’t open on Sundays but we make an exception this time of year so that people have time to pick up their orders before the holiday.  (The biggest day for order pick-up is on Wednesday, November 27th.  But birds, we are told, stay perfectly fresh when picked up as early as Sunday, November 24th, when the store is far more quiet.)

Do you sell any pre-cooked poultry?

No.  Basically what we offer is a “do it yourself” kit.  We kill it and you cook it however you like.  (Brining isn’t necessary, we are told.  Goffle’s turkeys are full of flavor and natural juices; no need to introduce extra liquid.)

You have the typical poultry options like chicken and duck but what are some exotic birds you offer?

We have pheasant, Cornish hens, silkies (dark meat chicken), and gourmet capon.  We also have two different varieties of duck – Muscovy duck and Peking duck.

For those of us who aren’t up to date on our poultry terminology, what exactly is capon?

Capon is a castrated rooster.  The castration alters hormone levels in the rooster which fattens it up.  You get a big, hearty chicken breast from capon.

Are there any notable restaurants you supply?

More than I could count.  Just look for Goffle Poultry Farm mentioned in the menu at local restaurants.

What is your personal favorite bird for the holiday?

Turkey, of course.  It’s a holiday tradition and always delicious.

Goffle Poultry Farm uses no steroids or antibiotics in their operations
Goffle Poultry Farm uses no steroids or antibiotics in their operations and turkeys are grown in open turkey porches, where they can range about freely

Goffle Poultry Farm’s retail store is open all year Monday through Saturday from 9:00 – 6:00 daily.  To find out more about the farm visit their website at http://www.gofflepoultry.com/index.html.

Located at:

549 Goffle Road

Wyckoff, NJ 07481

Phone: 201-444-3238