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Small Summer Joys: Peach Picking on Sauvie Island

Small Summer Joys: Peach Picking on Sauvie Island

The concept of slow living is one we've long admired. Through much research, we've found that embracing a simple lifestyle to make space for the things that matter leads to more fulfilling days. Recently, we've been taking advantage of every opportunity the warm weather brings to relax, reconnect, and restore our work/life balance. While the current landscape prevents us from partaking in all of the activities of summers past, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of these sun-filled days.  


box of peaches


For many of us who live in Portland, Sauvie Island is synonymous with summertime. Situated right on the Columbia River, Sauvie is home to thousands of acres of farmland and over 250 species of wildlife. From dreamy nature reserves to calm sandy beaches, it's easy to see why this river island is such a local favorite. As part of our commitment to slowing down, we headed out on a picturesque peach picking trip to take in all the joy summer has to offer. Below, we share irresistibly cute images (our coworker took her 7-month-old to Sauvie for the first time), an easy no-bake cake recipe, and some peach picking tips we learned along the way.


plate of dessert


Peach Picking Tips


Plan ahead before heading out on your peach picking journey to make sure the orchard's Covid policy is one you're comfortable with. Many local farms are now offering appointment-only picking sessions. Not only is this socially responsible, but it also makes the overall experience extra carefree and comfortable since you don't have to worry about competing crowds. 


garden with flowers

man holding a box of peaches standing next to a woman holding a baby 

1. Pull Gently

A perfectly ripe peach will separate from the branch easily. If it doesn't come off the tree effortlessly, it likely needs to be left to ripen longer. Ripe peaches are soft, so pick gently, using the sides of your fingers instead of the tips to avoid bruising the fruit. 


person holding a baby next to a tree

2. Smell First

At peak ripeness, peaches are very fragrant. A peach that is ready to be enjoyed will have a sweet scent that makes your mouth water. The stronger the aroma, the riper the peach, so make sure you rely on your sense of smell when picking.


close-up of peaches 

3. The Container Matters

When it comes to peach picking, a sturdy, shallow box works best. Peaches bruise easily, so take special care when placing them in your picking container and avoid stacking them more than two peaches high. 


baby reaching for peaches


4. Opt For Organic

Organic peaches may have small, dark dents due to bug bites during growth. These slight imperfections are harmless and do not affect the taste of the peaches. Plus, the benefits of organic produce far outweigh a few blemishes!


box of peaches


5. Look for Light

As a general rule of thumb, peaches higher up on the tree and on the periphery grow larger. These peaches also have higher sugar content and taste sweeter because of the extra exposure to sunlight. 


    baby holding a fruit to their mouth

    close-up of a tree with fruits

    person and a baby sitting on a blanket in the grass


    Once back from the orchard, comes one of the most rewarding parts — using your hard-earned bounty to make tasty recipes. From salad to salsa, pies, and cakes, peaches are a versatile fruit that works well in both sweet and savory dishes. Whether or not you decide to plan a peach picking trip of your own, we hope we've inspired you to make the most of this sun-filled season. 


    Ginger Peach Icebox Cake


    A simple and straightforward recipe that's perfect for the hottest of days. This quick no-bake confection can be easily customized using whatever fruit you have at home.  

     pile of cookies on a tea towel


    • Serves 6 - 8

    • This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free but, feel free to sub in whatever you'd like. 

    • If you prefer to peel the peaches, boil for 2 minutes, place in an ice bath, and remove skins with your hands.

    • Any type of crunchy cookie will work. Try Nilla wafers, graham crackers, or shortbread cookies.

    • Instead of discarding the pits, reuse them for another recipe

      bowl of fruit on a shelf


    • 14 oz. box gluten-free ginger snaps

    • 16 oz. dairy-free whipped cream

    • 6 large peaches, sliced

    • Chopped nuts, for garnish (optional)



    1. Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap and layer cookies, sliced peaches, and whipped cream until you get to the top. The final layer should end with whipped cream.

    2. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours depending on how juicy the peaches are. Test by inserting a knife in the center. If it cuts easily and comes out with soft crumbs, it is ready.

    3. Uncover and flip onto a serving dish.

    4. Top with more whipped cream, peaches, and desired garnish. Enjoy!

     cutting board with a knife and cut up peaches on it

    bowl of cookies and cream

    plate of a dessert


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