Photo: Daniel Sequin

Today I’d like to start my blog post with a very brief and peach related history lesson: In 1982 President Ronald Reagan declared August National Peach Month in the United States. Any good president should be concerned about the health of their citizens, and President Reagan was totally in the nutritional loop telling the people of America to “reach for a peach” in August. Of course Georgia and South Carolina are known for producing peaches and California is actually able to produce peaches year round, but I can’t help but be a little biased and think that Creston Valley Peaches the first few weeks of August are just next level. 

This uniquely fuzzy fruit is extremely high in fibre, which can help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol in your body. The fibre in peaches is also excellent for maintaining blood sugar, and really aiding overall digestive health. A good sized peach can contain up to three grams of dietary fibre, which can help men and women work towards that 25-38 gram daily recommended intake. The fruit itself is a great source of fibre, but a substantial amount of fibre in peaches lives among the fuzz of the peel. Peaches produced for commercial sale actually go through a process to have some of the fuzz removed from the peel, but most small scale producers will skip this step, which is why market peaches may have a little more texture going on than peaches from the grocery store.

As delicious as peaches are cooked into pies and cobblers, to reap the full nutritional benefits I highly recommend incorporating these fruits into fresh dishes in all their fuzzy glory. Try adding diced peaches into a fresh salsa or salad, or make a big play in the fibre game with a grain based salad that includes peaches, I’m thinking quinoa or even something like farro could be delish! I am going to attach a recipe below using farro as well as greens and heirloom tomatoes, ingredients that can be picked up from the market that will compliment fresh peaches perfectly! Farro is an ancient grain that has a texture similar to brown rice once it’s cooked. It is super high in fibre and has a rich nutty flavour that really complements the acidity of tomatoes and the sweetness of the peaches in this salad. This salad will make it into my weekend menu plans for sure. 

So remember when you are at the market this weekend to reach for a peach (or a pound of them) and challenge yourself to up that fibre intake!

Farro Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad (Serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of water
  • ½ cup uncooked farro
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup of baby greens 
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes (cut into thin wedges)
  • 1 cup cherry heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium peaches (cut into thin wedges)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup feta cheese

How to Make It

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan over high
  2. Rinse farro (under running water until the water runs clear), and add it to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to low, and cover the farro allowing it to simmer until it is tender (about 25 minutes). Remove the farro from the saucepan and allow it to cool in a mixing bowl in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  3. Mix oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper together whisking until well combined (when I make salad dressings I use a mason jar to add my ingredients into, which allows me to just screw on the lid and shake the jar to combine the ingredients)
  4. Toss the cooled farro with the greens and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Toss tomatoes, peaches, and basil with 3 tablespoons of dressing. If you wanted to be really fancy you could lay the farro and greens on a platter, and cover with a layer of the peach mixture, before topping the salad with feta and the remaining dressing, or you could just combine it all in a mixing bowl and dig right in!

Also…

  • The dressing could be whatever you want it to be, if you like more spice, add more pepper, if you don’t have shallots in your kitchen try some garlic and thinly sliced red onion instead
  • Farro should be available in most stores by the rice, quinoa, and other grains, and even available in bulk, but if you can’t find farro try this recipe with quinoa or couscous or whatever base you feel comfortable with
  • This recipe makes a large salad, so keep in mind “halving” the ingredients if you don’t want to have leftovers

In Good Food,

Reede Hawton

Nutrition Rep