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Grown Here at Home: Franklin County farmer explains clingstone vs. freestone peaches

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 7:33 AM EDT
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FRANKLIN CO., Va. (WDBJ) - It’s peach season and the orchard at Woods Farms in Franklin County is full of the delicious fruit. There are several varieties of peaches, but they fall into two categories -- clingstone and freestone.

“A clingstone ripens from the skin to the seed, where a freestone ripens from the seed to the skin, so it’s the complete opposite,” explained Mark Woods, owner of Woods Farms.

In a clingstone peach, the flesh of the fruit clings to the pit, hence its name. In freestones, it doesn’t. Clingstones are usually available mid-May to early June, and freestone’s from mid-June to mid-August.

“A lot of people like the freestone, but the clingstone will eat just as good,” Mark said.

Mark has a word of advice for picking peaches.

“Just don’t squeeze them. If it’s yellowish, red looking, and it smells like a peach, most of the time it’s ripe. If it’s got a greenish tint to them, it ain’t ready yet. If you squeeze it, and somebody else comes and squeezes it, and somebody else comes, you ain’t got nothin’ but mush at the end of the day. Just smell them. You don’t have to squeeze them.”

Mark joked, “As the one lady at the farm market says, it hurts her peelings, ya know?”

Woods Farms is at 2921 Naff Road in Boones Mill. The farm stand is open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can also find them at the Roanoke City Market Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the South County Farmers’ Market Thursday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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