There are few things more satisfying than driving down a California road eating fresh peaches and plums, and throwing the pits out the window. The thick, furry skin of the peaches is bursting with juice, while the plums’ dark ruby flesh releases its smooth flavor in your mouth. They are freshly picked from the sunny backyard of a woman who leaves them in trays by the roadside. Driving along a windy road through the hills of Ojai, you come upon a small sign that says “Peaches for Sale,” and most of the time, the woman will come out and say hello while you salivate over the fruit. This season, she said, was the first time in about five years that she could harvest the delicious plums, due to their fickle nature, and she showed us the trees that grow on a steep slope behind her house.
The town of Ojai feels like it’s lost in time, where the heat slows down the pace of the people, and they are just content sipping organic smoothies and playing guitar in the park. There is a general loss of agitation of what is going to happen next. Bart’s Books sits on a sleepy corner, its wooden shelves full of plays, poetry, and prose from the past century up to the present. There are sheets of music, magazines, cookbooks, and first-edition signed copies of fiction, as well as a cat who picks the perfect spots for napping.