Radio, radio

Today I spoke briefly with Celeste Headlee on local NPR affiliate Georgia Public Broadcasting show “On Second Thought”.

I’m the second interview in, and the least interesting, but there’s a whole series of fascinating conversations. See especially the one with playwright Jimmy Maize, director of the new play, The Temple Bombing, and with National Jewish Book Award winner Miriam Udell on her book, Never Better! The Modern Jewish Picaresque

Also, a couple of midwestern farm radio appearances for The Georgia Peach:

with Darrell Anderson of Successful Farming Radio Magazine, mp3 here;

and with George Meyer of KICD-FM in Spencer, Iowa, mp3 here.

How the Big Apple Made the Georgia Peach

Cambridge University Press recently invited me to write for their blog, Fifteen eighty-four. Here’s how it starts:

One of the things that surprised me as I conducted research for The Georgia Peach is how unsouthern Georgia peaches are. Don’t get me wrong: Prunus persica has grown in southern soil that southerners sometimes owned, and many southerners have planted and pruned the trees and harvested the fruit. Samuel Henry Rumph, who released the Elberta peach and was one of the larger growers in the region in the late nineteenth century, was a southern boy “to the manor born” as his contemporaries liked to point out.

But the creation of the Georgia peach as a commercial crop and a cultural icon depended upon economic and cultural connections beyond the South, in at least three ways.

Read on for more: 

Local Palate: Whose Peach Is it Anyway?

Here’s a piece I wrote for the beautiful magazine, The Local Palate. Whose Peach Is It Anyway?

I’m not here to set the record straight, nor to defend Georgia as the true Peach State. I may be a Georgian, but I’m also a historian, which means my job is to complicate, to contextualize, to shade the bright glaring myths of the American past with the subtler tones of nuance. What explains the Georgia peach is history, though perhaps not the sort of history you’d expect. It’s not just that Georgians used to grow a lot of peaches, like Maryland used to export a lot of terrapins, or like Colorado used to be home to lots of bison. It’s that peaches emerged as a commercial crop at a particular historical moment. It’s a story, in other words, about timing.

Kudos to Avram Dumitrescu for the lovely illustrations!

Georgia Fuzz: Weather, Workers, and the World’s Peach Paradise

I did some writing for the Southern Foodways Alliance blog about peach fuzz….

we might say that the peach put on fuzz to make its own passage through the world more comfortable. Fuzz came between the fruit’s flesh and the organisms that surrounded it: insects and their larvae, fungi and their spores, and human hands that hurried it to market

Much — to paraphrase William Carlos Williams — much depended on peach fuzz.

Here’s part 1, followed closely by part 2.

The Georgia Peach in Black and White

I had an opportunity to do some writing for the Southern Foodways Alliance’s James Beard Award-winning quarterly Gravy late last year. The piece, “The Georgia Peach in Black and White,” came out in the Winter 2015 issue, but the digital version just went live here. They’ve done a beautiful job with the layout and images.

My father’s 1967 Volvo 122 smells like dust. Pulverized foam from the ceiling and seats, dried sweat from a thousand entrances and exits on summer days, sulfur and fuzz and road dirt from the orchards. The engine putters. The windows are open, and the triangular vents shunt hot, exhaust-laden wind into our faces. We are on the way to the Station.

Read more . . .