Peach ice cream, hot peach cobbler, peach cider, pickled peaches, and peach preserves are a few good reasons to come to Peaches ‘n’ Such, aka Watsonia (after the Watson family that runs it). But Watson doesn’t only grow peaches. The fields here (all organic) also yield strawberries, apples, asparagus, broccoli, squash, and more. This is a wonderful place for breakfast, lunch, ice cream, and spectacular cakes as well as an especially hearty Sunday after-church supper.
Located on Highway 23 and surrounded by orchards in all directions, Peaches ‘n’ Such has a tiny dining area where tables are shared by strangers when necessary; and there is a limited menu of sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and hot meals. I first came out here thanks to a tip by Aiken sages Tom Bossard and Len Cherry, who waxed rhapsodic about the peach ice cream. I loved the ice cream, but stayed for a meal of fried chicken.
O, what fine chicken! Hugging pieces of indulgently moist meat is a seasoned crust poised perfectly between crunch and chew, oozing its own full-flavored juices with every bite. On the side come two vegetables. The one I won’t ever neglect is broccoli casserole, the home-ec classic that presents well-cooked stalks and florets in a melted web of chewy orange cheese and bread crumbs. Butter beans are simple and just-right al dente with real legume earthiness. A third choice this Friday was fried eggplant. Not being a big eggplant fan, I was shocked to like it so much, the vegetable itself turned ethereal as it cooked inside a jacket of salty, delicious breading. It reminds me of the best fried okra, but half its weight. A few other must-eats from the vegetable menu, when they’re available, are fried green tomatoes with zesty horseradish dipping sauce, and creamy mac ‘n’ cheese. And if you are a fan of classic Sunday supper, it will be your lucky day if the menu board lists turkey. It’s the real stuff, freshly carved and served with classic sage dressing and gravy.
Dessert layer cakes are monumental: red velvet, strawberry (made with fresh berries), triple-layer Neapolitan cake (yes, three flavored/colored layers), and banana pudding cake. The fruity-sweet Dixie delight known as hummingbird cake, loaded with bananas and pineapple, is so yummy that one must remind oneself to also spoon up some of that grand soft-serve peach ice cream on the side. Speaking of peach ice cream, it’s a marvelous companion for fruity-moist peach upside down cake that is best served warm.