"When it's peach picking time in Delaware" - the 1915 song, not the later song "When it's peach picking time in Georgia" (which is the location for the 1887 illustration on packing peaches, below) -describes the first picture, from Harper's Weekly, September 1878 - "Picking Peaches in Delaware."
"The value of the fruit of the peach tree in a commercial point of view in the United States is very great. Thousands of bushels of peaches are marketed from the peach orchards of the middle states yearly. In western New York and in other parts of the country, the fruit is dried by artificial heat, the stones being taken out previously, or even dried in the sun, and thus made a marketable article. A spirituous liquor called peach brandy is distilled from the fruit, and hogs are fed from the refuse, leaves of the peach tree, bruised in water and distilled, give peach water, much esteemed for flavoring articles in cookery; and when steeped in spirits they communicate to them the flavor of noyeau." [Ripley, George. The New American Cyclopaedia, v13. New York: 1861]
There were numerous other recipes for peaches including marmalade, jam, dried peach sauce, stewed, pie, pudding, Charlotte, cobbler and even pickled peaches.
The peach basket photograph is from the Doug Towle Calalog.
©2012 Patricia Bixler Reber