I arrived in adulthood a peach snob. Couldn’t help it. I’d spent every summer eating big juicy ripe peaches plucked from an orchard up the road in Lewes, Delaware. Last week I came back from visiting my Dad with just-picked peaches stuffed in every empty nook in the car. I nearly cried when we ate the last one. So good.

Susie Middleton

I needed more. I had gotten a beautiful piece of swordfish from The Net Result; manager Mike Holtham told me it was uber-fresh, caught with the sustainable deep-set buoy gear method. I wanted to make this: Grilled Swordfish with Tomato-Peach Salsa-Salad.

Susie Middleton

Not to be deterred by potentially bad peach experiences (which always lurk), I went in search of a decent peach on the Island. A regular peach, not a Goldbud, which is admittedly incredible, especially for being shipped all the way from California. But you’ll need a stimulus check to purchase one.

No, I mean a regular peach.

I found one. I bought three varieties from two different places and had a happy and delicious experience with some yellow peaches I got at Morning Glory. (A couple even went on the grill for a messy little improv dessert that was nevertheless delicious: Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream and Berry Sauce.)

Phew. The moral of this story is always buy more peaches than you need if you’re planning something peachy, because you never know. They won’t all work out.

My best advice for picking out a peach — sniffing — is no good this year. In my experience, a peach or a nectarine will never ripen before rotting if it isn’t already a bit fragrant while still semi-firm. But I found out that it’s really hard to sniff through a mask, so this year, go with touch: Choose peaches that are just a smidge past firm. Nothing rock hard, nothing soft. When you get home, leave the semi-firm fruit out on the counter for a day or two — not much more — and you should have a delightful and juicy experience.

Other than a quick turn on the grill, I tend to eat most of my peaches raw. In Delaware we ate them for breakfast, peeled, sliced, and doused with heavy cream. (Though a peach clafoutis is good for breakfast, too.)

But mine wind up on the dinner table in savory salsas and salads, most often with ripe juicy tomatoes. I make Tomato-Peach Bruschetta Topping. And Yellow Tomato, Peach, and Fresh Herb Gazpacho Salad. I’m pretty obsessed with what tomatoes and peaches do together, especially with ginger or lime or bright herbs as a bridge. Avocados play nicely with them, too.

I make this Summer Grain Salad with Tomatoes, Basil, Corn, and Nectarines. See a pattern?!

Susie Middleton

Though heck, if I really wanted to cook peaches, I’d put them in a rustic tart (yes, that rustic tart.)

Susie Middleton

And if you are much more fun than I am, perhaps you’d like to put your peaches in a Peachy Margarita.

That would be just peachy. See you on Instagram @cookthevineyard.

P.S. I completely understand if you want to skip the guesswork and go straight for the Goldbud peaches. They're available at North Tisbury Farm and Market and Morning Glory Farm on the Island.