The Joy of Peaches

Selecting peaches from a bin (Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara)

Selecting peaches from a bin (Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara)

With skin as soft as baby alpaca fur, the peach is also juicy and sweet. Inside it carries a pit we call, in Spanish, hueso, a bone, yet it calms thirst and hunger and is like a cool breeze when it is hot outside.

To speak of this fruit is to fill your palate with sweetness. In the city of Cusco, peaches are found all year round in our traditional markets since they come to us from Peru’s north as well as from our sister country of Chile. They also grow in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Pisac, Calca, and Urubamba from which they come during the rainy season, October through March. At this time all the popular markets of Cusco offer it at a relatively economical price. It all depends on the size and condition of the fruit and where it comes from.

The peaches from Peru’s north are better selected in terms of size and color. They cost seven soles a kilo, while those imported from Chile reach 8 soles a kilo. Our local peaches vary by size. The small ones cost 3 soles a kilo, the medium sized ones are 4 soles a kilo, and the large run 5 soles a kilo.

The sweetness, the flavor, and softness of the fruit make it useful for fruit salads, juices, cakes, soft drinks, and a whole variety of desserts. In the markets, out vendors display it as they also do on some of our city’s streets.

Delicious Peaches (Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara)
Delicious Peaches (Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara)

While strolling around the San Blas Market yesterday I saw a cherry-colored truck and in its open bed I saw three big plastic bins filled with colorful and ripe peaches. In each was show fruit selected by size that cost 3,4, or 5 soles a kilo. The market vendors and passersby filed the small space. When I came close I saw a young man selling without pause. His hands weighed the fruit on a scale, while form his lips came offers. He said “carry with you fresh and sweet peaches from Pisac. I have inexpensive peaches. Choose them. Choose which you want caseros.”

By car, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is only 30 minutes from the City of Cusco. This valley is well known world wide for being one of the best producers of prime quality corn and, in the rainy season, of abundant and quality fruit. It sends us capulí, pears, quinces, cactus tunas, and the sweet Andean peach.

Weighing Peaches in the Market (Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara)
Weighing Peaches in the Market (Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara)

When people go to the Sacred Valley, they often only go to see the archeological sites and miss out on all the beautiful vegetation and food crops in the place. I remember just a few years ago during this season my friends and I went for a hike and we enjoyed the fruit of the Valley. We ate from the trees as we walked until the sun said “good bye”. When we returned home by car each talked of the peaches they had gathered to take home.

Besides being delicious and tempting, this fruit is very good for your health. It regulates arterial tension and has phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. It is also good to calm anxiety, tiredness, and the stress we carry in our bodies.

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