By Chef Valerie Wilson

Peaches originated in China and were first domesticated in 6,000 B.C. Peaches are discussed widely in 10th-century Chinese writings, and the peach blossoms were thought to ward off evil spirits and help provide vitality. To this day, China is the leading producer of peaches. The introduction to North America was in St. Augustine, Florida, by Spanish monks in the mid-1500s. By 1607, the peach had spread to Jamestown, Virginia. In the 1850s and 1850s, horticulturists began a selective breeding campaign for peaches and other fruits in the southeast part of the U.S. By 1922, peach festivals began in Fort Valley, Georgia, to celebrate the fruit. These festivals became very popular, and that is where the ‘Georgian Peach’ was born. It is interesting to note that California produces most of our U.S. peaches. 

No matter which state they come from, peaches are sweet and juicy, and they are full of health benefits. They are high in Vitamins A and C, which are natural moisturizers; this is why you will find them in many natural skin care products. Peaches contain a phytochemical called phenols that acts as an antioxidant. They also contain selenium and calcium. Containing beta-carotene, peaches can help protect eye vision. It may help to protect the retinas in your eyes from free radical damage, as well as help to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

There are basically two kinds of peaches. Cling stone, where the flesh sticks to the stone. And freestone, where the stone is easy to separate from the flesh. Peaches are in the rose family and originated in China. The tree was known as the Tree of Life to the ancient Chinese. When buying peaches, look for firmer flesh using them in pies and softer flesh if you want to take a bite out of the raw peach.

Peach Pie

(recipe out of Val’s Simply Scrumptious Healthy Desserts cookbook) 


1 cup walnuts 

1 3/4 cups brown rice flour

¼ cup olive oil 

¼ cup brown rice syrup 

¼ cup water 

1 tsp. cinnamon 

pinch sea salt 


7 cups peaches (cut up) 

½ cup brown rice syrup 

5 T. arrowroot

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ginger

pinch sea salt 

  1. Put the walnuts in a food processor to mince them into small pieces. 
  2. Mix together the crust ingredients; you should get a thick dough that will stick together. 
  3. Use about ¾ of the dough (save the other ¼ for later), and press the crust dough into an oiled pie pan.
  4. Put all filling ingredients into a saucepan on low heat and warm until the filling thickens. Stir the filling occasionally as it heats. 
  5. Pour the filling onto the crust. Crumble the remaining ¼ crust over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool before serving. 


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