Help! ISO Organic Reliance or Contender Peach Tree!

I live in New Hampshire, zone 4b, and am on the hunt for an organic peach tree that will survive here. I heard Reliance and Contenders do well. Anyone know of a place that sells them? Thank you!!!

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Veteran is another one you might consider. I just ordered one from One Green World. I have no previous experience with them though. I have a Reliance too, but it’s only been through one winter.


Even if its not grown organically as long as you treat it organically when it fruits in three years it will be organic! Its hard for organic nurseries to ship out of state because of pest restrictions so maybe check locally?

I think contender is absolutely amazing and is a later peach and reliance is a early peach so those sound good for you and the most likely to fruit. You need frost resistant and late ripening as top priorities

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Remember, there’s a difference between surviving and bearing fruit. In Iowa 5b, both survive but bear 3/10 years.


From Paul Friday’s Flamin’ Fury Peaches

PF 24-C cold hardy

This freestone peach ripens 22 days after Redhaven. This extraordinary peach had to be thinned very hard in 1999 when a winter freeze in Southwestern Michigan wiped out all other varieties. Then in 2002 there was a very late spring freeze, May 21st, and 15 varieties all around this cultivar failed and it again had a full crop. This is a very unique peach variety that has it all. This peach is large, firm, highly colored, bacterial spot resistant, and has excellent, rich flavor. I believe this is the best peach for anyone with a questionable peach growing location. The tree is very tough with strong natural right angle crotches and it blooms late. The fruit has much better size and quality than other varieties thought to be hardy such as Reliance and Madison. April 4th of 2007 we had a very cold night with temperatures below 20 degrees F. and several nights in the low twenties following a very warm week. The preceding week of warm weather brought the blooms to an almost open state. This variety, deliberately planted in the lowest place on the farm, again, came through with flying colors

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You are asking for a Holy Grail, a peach tree that will fruit for you in zone 4b and you want to grow it organically.

I don’t know any nursery that sells organic peach trees. What many growers want to do is to grow it organically, Organic growing does not mean no spray. It means products you use to grow and spray your tree it is labeled for organic use.

You are in NH, just north of me but 2 zones colder. Growing peaches in our area with just organic products will be extremely difficult. I don’t think it is possible to grow peach with no spray. This particularly true after 4-5 years into it as diseases aand pests will find your tree.

Growing poaches in zone 4b, organic or not, is very difficult. Like @Chikn mentioned above. Keeping a peach tree alive does not mean it will fruit for you. Most peach fruit buds do not survive winter in your zone, even the very cold hardy varieties.

I grew PF24 C for 10 years (just cut it down last month). I have to say Paul Friday is such a great marketeer. PF24C was good and cold hardy but I don’t think it was everything Paul advertised. I had one year that every single PF24 C fruit bud got fried. A couple of years that more than 50% of fruit buds died, etc. However, overall, it is a cold hardier variety.

I don’t have Reliance but have fruited Madison. It is another cold hardy variety. When you can ripen peaches on your own trees, they taste good. I like both PF24 C and Madison.

I hope someone who grows peach in your zone will chime in. I think you would need a perfect microclimate to make this wish possible.

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I grow trees organically in my nursery(zone 4b Maine) and have some Contender peach trees which I grafted last year.

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You can try Fedco. They have Reliance and a few other cold hardy varieties, but not Contender this year. They are located in Maine. I’m not sure if they are certified organic or not, but they actively promote organic growing. My guess is Zone 4b might actually help with growing organically as opposed to warmer zone 5 or 6, but I really don’t know.

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Glad you chime in. Do you get fruit every year and how your fruit look?

Two of my friends and a neighbor have grown their peach trees organically. Their peaches have had damage from OFM and PC. The neighbor’s fruit had brown rot on top of it, quite badly this year.

One friend cut down her tree. Another friend still keeps it going. She does not mind damaged fruit. She eats around it.

My neighbor’s fruit suffered extensively from brown rot. These two have their trees for 5-6 years now.

I have been amazed by how well you can grow many fruit, peaches, plums, pears, apples. Your Gold Rush apples have ripened better than mine while I am 2 zones warmer.

The only thing I could think of is that your microclimate is really great.

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Thanks for the kind words Tippy! Since I grow most everything no-spray, I’ve learned that species and variety selection is quite important. Peaches do okay, I get annual crops from Contender for the last few years. This season I did have some BR issues-not as bad as on my plums- and some PC strikes, but still managed to get a decent amount of useable fruit. Most had ‘beauty marks’ of one sort or another, but since I’m just growing these for home consumption, it’s not too much of a concern. Contender may not be as high quality as Redhaven, but much better than Reliance IMO plus quite cold hardy and productive= winner in my book.


The PF 24-C sounds like a great peach. I planted the Flaming Fury PF 35-007 3 years ago. I was hoping to get peaches from it last year. We had a horrible cold spell come through at the time of blooming. So no peaches. I look forward to getting maybe getting some peaches this next year.
Your description of the Flaming Fury peach gives me hope I may have picked a good peach tree.

That description is not @wfwalton’s. It was copied from Grandpa’s Orchard website promoting PF24C.

In my experience, it is a good, cold hardy peach. But it is not the only good, cold hardy peach.

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Thank you for the clarification. I wanted a cold hardy peach that ripened after my Contender and Redhaven peaches. It is a LOT of work to get all the peaches put up as preserves. Both of those two peaches ripen close enough together. I get a lot of peaches when they both set well. I wanted a few weeks between having that much work to do at one time. The FF peach I picked ripens about 40 days after Redhaven.

Based on @Olpea’s peach eval, you picked a good variety for that window. You are going to find out about it first hand this coming spring when it produces for you.

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Nothing tastes better than home grown peaches you pick off your own trees. I hope I get to taste some of these new peaches.

@Olpea knows peaches, I’ve witnessed that!!
Contender is a tasty peach but bears erratically because of cold and frosts. Reliance is not as good taste wise. Redhaven is 1/10 years. Probably lost Redhaven already at -1.


My Contender will produce peaches for me every year since it started to produce fruit. Even in bad years I get some delicious tasting peaches off of it. The Redhaven is a very stingy producer even in so-so years. One year, 2018, I got one peach off of my Redhaven. The Contender gave me 3 bushels of peaches. In 2019 I got 3 peaches off the Redhaven. Only 2 bushels of peaches off the Contender. Frosts played havoc in that spring. I even put sheets on the trees. I am not sure if that really helps or not. Cold is cold with or without the sheets.
In 2020, zero peaches off of either one. That freeze/ cold weather that pushed through most of the East gave everyone just about zero fruit on all their trees and cane fruits. All the peach trees were covered with blossoms at that time. Even my newer Flaming Fury peach was covered with blossoms in 2020, 4th greening for that one. I hope to taste the FF peach one of these years. The pictures attached are all Contender peaches.
If the Redhaven will not produce peaches next year I will take that one out and replace it with another type of peach. I am not wasting orchard space on a tree that does not do its job, producing fruit.


I don’t know if you recall, but when you, your wife, and I walked through the orchard, we tried lots of peaches from varieties ripening at that time. It was a small detail which would normally be forgotten. But for some reason, I remember your favorite peach you liked that day was Veteran.

Perhaps I mentioned the variety in passing that day, but I remember walking along and you mentioning the best peach you had tried up to that point was the peach you happened to have in your hand, which was picked off Veteran.


I have not purchased from them YET, but Winter Cove Farm (Maine) currently has “beyond organic” peach trees in stock (Contender, Reliance, Veteran, and Polly) on Lovell rootstock.


Totally agree. I try to graft them over, root system is valuable(apples).

What I wouldn’t give for one of your tree ripened peaches right now! 10" of snow this afternoon.