Peachy peaches and the case for food miles

PeachesThis one may get me in trouble. Before you go off the deep end and start to palpitate, I am not making a general case for food miles in what we eat. Though, I recently heard a very cogent argument for food to be produced where it is cheapest to do so. The actual costs involved in planting, growing, picking, cleaning, trimming, sorting, cooling, shipping or flying and driving a tray of green beans from Peru or Nigeria to your local supermarket are, apparently, negligible.

Counter arguments, including those that say “It’s not about a tray of beans. it’s millions of trays of produce grown by impoverished people and then shipped all over the world 24,7, 365.” tend to hold more sway with me. There is one big HOWEVER all the same.

The HOWEVER is not about trays of beans or other stuff winging its way from poor foreign countries to this poor country. It’s about one tray of four peaches that I picked up in Lidl last weekend (2 food miles from the house). No need to tell you that they did not grow here in Ireland. I was too enthused about them to look-see from whence they came. Therefore I don’t know how guilty I should be feeling.

My recipe really is not a recipe at all. I did with them exactly what I would have done with figs if I could lay my hands on any. The figs, like latter-day Phileas Foggs are probably winging their way from someplace foreign to someplace else again.

For Baked Peaches with Honey and Ice Cream you will need:

  • 4 peaches
  • 8 blobs of butter
  • 8 teaspoons of honey
  • Vanilla ice cream to serve

This peach recipe is too easy to qualify as a recipe. Just do the stuff like I say and they will turn out beautiful.

Slice the peaches like in the photo. Put them in a roasting pan and add the 8 blobs of butter and 8 teaspoons of honey.

Roasted Peaches

The great thing about shooting pouring honey is that it happens slowly enough to get the shot.

Put the roasting pan in the oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minute.

Roasted Peaches

They don’t look a lot different coming out of the oven. They tast a lot different though.

Serve them with the ice cream.

Side note: I do feel a twinge of guilt by not making my own ice cream and writing about it here. If I did that, the cream and eggs would have come from just down the road. I would not be causing too much offence when one aggregates the distance traveled by all the ingredients. Though, the vanilla would have to come from Madagascar, Zanzibar or some such place.Roasted Peaches and ice creamYou’d have to go a long way to find anything as tasty and toothsome. Better not though. They have come far enough themselves.

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  • I agree Conor. There is merit to the argument alright regarding growing food where it grows best. However, manytimes, because of the miles it has to travel it can be sprayed to death with ceap to keep it ‘peachy’. We have to take our chances, don’t we? Congrats on your getting to the finals for ‘Best newcomer’ in the Blog Awards this year. You have earned it!
    Hope to meet you on October 13th. Móna

    • I get depressed when I see garlic (pretty poor garlic at that) that has come from China and asparagus coming from Bolivia (same standard as the garlic). Thanks for the kind words.

  • Gorgeous! Need I say more. I’m in love with the idea of beautiful fresh peaches, golden drizzles of honey and that cheese. Unfortunately that time is about 5 months away just yet so I’ll have to be somewhat patient and just keep dreaming and (drooling) until then 🙂

    • Thanks Alice. Better to wait than rack up the miles.

  • Your peaches look delicious, but I disagree about food miles. People in impoverished countries should be growing food for themselves, not to mention all the water that gets diverted from the poor in those countries in order to water our food. We should make an effort to eat locally and seasonally. Supermarkets will say anything to “convince” us that they are in the right.

    • True indeed MD, The second paragraph really expresses where I stand on it (if poorly communicated). It’s madness. We do need to be growing more locally. We could do a lot more of it here in Ireland if we really wanted to. We have grown accustomed to having everything available all year. Food miles and the inequity that goes with them is a price most of us appear prepared to pay. I was hoping to start a conversation on that.

      • You got me 😉
        I prefer to appreciate things when they are in season – they taste better and I look forward to them. When fruit and vegetables are available all year round there’s nothing special about them.
        Personally, I don’t even like supermarket carrots from the UK – by the time the consumer takes them home, they’ve lost all their flavour. The carrots I just bought from the farmers’ market, however, taste fantastic and my farmer sells at supermarket prices. He says he’s cut out the middle man, so there’s no need for inflated organic prices.

        • You got me too MD. If there is one thing that boils my blood, it’s our overpriced Irish faux farmer’s markets. One pays through the hooter for pretty ordinary fruit and vegetables. It seems that one is always on the wrong side of the deal, buying from some distant relative of former landed gentry, wearing a Barbour jacket. Your farmer has the right approach. Excellent fresh veg. No middleman. A bit more margin for him and a better price for you. Everybody wins. (And very few food miles!)

  • We buy ready to go sdtir fry veg from Marks and Sparks. It contains about 6 different ingredients from 6 different countries. I comfort myself by assuming that means there is a lesser chance of something nasty being in the packet.

  • I’m guilty of keeping Bushmills in my cupboard and eating at restaurants. Just one shot with my McDonald’s Happy Meal probably equals the carbon footprint of 100 working factories. It’s rarely easy to buy local. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try. And if you neglect to inspect the peaches? Just rebuke yourself publicly and everything will be good again. 😉 As always, great stuff.

    • Take this as my public self rebuke. I could do with some of that Bushmills now. I have recently cooked beef ribs in Bushmills and honey. Post to follow in a few weeks. Very tasty.

  • Living in Southern California where we can eat pretty local all year long, I try my best not to chide people who cannot get a good local peach ANY time of year. I do eat seasonally as much as I can – no peaches in January, etc. In fact I won’t eat any melon until next June. There is a family farm not too far from here that grows melons so good I won’t eat any others no matter where they come from. It alarms me no end though when I see garlic from China in our local markets when I can drive to Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital of the Universe” in about 5 hours.

    Gorgeous photos, Conor!

    • Drive there now Flori and put a few tresses in the post to me.

  • This looks like an amazing dessert treat! Easy too!

    • Nothing easier. Particularly if the oven has been on for the main course too.

      • I will definitely have to try this. We do not have peaches available anymore. Boo hoo, but this is one recipe to tuck away!

  • Nice and simple recipe, now why didn’t I think of this before …

    One more thing Conor – You take lovely pictures. May I suggest you put your name in the centre of the picture (as discretely as you can) because unscrupulous people can use your picture easily by cropping out your name. I discovered several of my pictures were being used until I started putting my name bang in the middle.

  • Love fresh peaches. This is very simple and beautifully done even if you didn’t make the ice cream.

    • Cut me some slack Richard. I’ll do some Ice cream or get the eldest daughter to guest post it as hers is excellent.

  • Simple recipes are often the best. The hardest part is finding good peaches, although this recipe might be more forgiving for peaches that are not perfectly ripe?
    Unless one lives downtown in a worldly city, one usually has to make quite some ‘local’ food miles to get good ingredients. For instance, rather fresh fish with a limited selection for me is within 1 mile. A big selection is at 15 miles and the freshest at 50 miles.

    • My problem with food miles starts somewhere around the 500 mile mark….

  • Love this- don’t feel guilty about not making your own ice-cream. There’s a lot to be said for delicious meals that you can whip together quickly and hassle free (and your photos are stunning). I’ll definitely be giving this a go! I do think that we should be eating local and seasonal food when possible, within reason though. While I am conscious of the environment, I am more passionate about supporting our local farmers and artisan producers. Sometimes you will want to eat something more exotic though and that is fine too! Sometimes food snobbery makes people guilty/paranoid about their shopping and cooking methods which I feel is wrong. Its better to encourage people to eat healthy and home-cooked meals.

    • I couldn’t have put it better myself. Well said.

  • Problem is society as a whole has gotten away from seasonal eating. So in order to have our blueberries or orange juice year round we’ll cast far and wide for the food. We do try to eat locally as much as possible and grow what we can but there are times it is not easy. Though we are much better at it now than we used to be.

    • I try to not be an extremist. I do occasionally (as the recipe proves) stray to the long travelled. Local is best. Occasional transgressions are forgiven.

      • Of course. 🙂 I for one prefer the prosciutto from Italy, not the mid-west. Or real French cheese. Sigh, not to wish my life away but I look forward to retirement and heading back across to the UK!

  • Hey Conor…it’s Derrill from The “G” Spot…
    This looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thanks Derrill, they were so simple to do.

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