A: We are not going to go around my house anymore. We’re going up to Haleakala. Do you still want to come?
L: For sure.
A: Okay, wear layers and bring water.
That was a paraphrased conversation between me and my wonderful friend who lives on Maui. Originally, we were going to hike near her house in upcountry Maui, but last minute, plans changed and it turned into a group hike up on Haleakala.
If you’re not familiar with the islands, Haleakala (means House of the Sun) is Maui’s massive, sleeping volcano. At the summit, you are transported to another world. You might think you were suddenly on Mars, from the vibrant orange-red rock and dirt that surrounds the very top of the crater. When you look out, you cannot see the ocean. You cannot see the rest of Maui. There are the fluffiest, puffiest, most pillowy white clouds as far as the eye can see. The only plant you’re likely to find is the silversword if you can even spot that at the summit.
Every year, I always dread the arrival of summer because it gets so hot in Los Angeles. I am lucky enough to have air conditioning and a covered carport, which means my apartment stays comfy enough to cook inside with the oven on and my car doesn’t become an oven itself sitting out in the sun. It’s a good life.
When summer finally does roll around, I find that instead of lamenting how hot it is, I am totally and completely inspired because all of our California produce is so incredible. We have tomatoes in almost every color of the rainbow and stone fruit that outshines even the rarest of gems. While I love all stone fruit, peaches edge out cherries as my favorite. There is nothing better than a plump, juicy, sweet summer peach and there is nothing worse than a hard, dry, out of season peach. They are perfect for eating on their own, lend themselves beautifully to baking up sweet treats and are surprisingly complimentary to many savory dishes.