I some times miss the year-round availability of most fruits and vegetables in the U.S. supermarkets, but I've grown to appreciate eating seasonal produce. It's what makes shopping at the local farmers' markets so interesting. And it brings a different variety to life, understanding what seasonality means and savouring the foods when they are at their best. It can be frustrating as routines have to change every couple of months. My deepest memory is the golden apples. I'd found one stall that carried nothing else but goldens, and they were inexpensive and very delicious. The quality just kept improving, until one day, the apples turned greener and smaller. A few days later, the apples were no more. I weaned myself through the supermarket (which was quick as they were rather flavourless, not sweet enough, too crispy, and dry). But having said that, the markets still carry certain produce essential to cooking year-round, such as tomatoes, salad greens, cucumbers, carrots, beans, etc.
Peaches have come into season for several months now (about June to October here in Provence). It's impossible to miss as every market stall selling fruits carries them. Even the supermarkets reduced the wintry and spring fruits (e.g. apples, pears) to make space for the plums, peaches, and apricots. But it wasn't until last week that I finally gave into their alluring and pungent smell. Not a surprise as the fruit bowl sat right in the center of the kitchen. I would certainly have pounced on them (as well as the plums, mirabelles, and apricots) at the start of the season; but unfortunately, I can no longer tolerate them very well.
The peaches here are indeed marvelous. Wonderfully pungent and full of juice. Our favourite: the white peach. Light in both texture and flavour yet still very peachy. The French variety is very different from the famous white peaches from China, but they are wonderful in their own right, especially when ripe and slightly soft to the touch. They're not too different from the yellow variety, but the texture remains that much finer (the ones in Beijing tend to be quite crunchy) and sweeter. And the juice! Just dripping all over my fingers and palms!
The juiciest is probably the white nectarine, a recent addition to the market stalls. I don't recall having seen white nectarines before; so I bought a couple to try. It was so sweet and juicy that I had to clean splatter marks from my husband who was sitting across from me! Produce so good really warrants an occasional indulgence, for me at least!