Rather than waiting til all the peaches are in I thought I would incrementally add to my log here. I’ll keep adding to the below as more come in. Please add your own peach experiences.
This year the weather was very wet in July so many of the earlier peaches did not do as well as they usually do. August is drying out so things are better but there is still a lot of rot lingering from the wet spell.
Gold Dust - A very nice early peach. It tastes like a quality later peach. As usual the squirrels got many of them. Sha Zi Zao Sheng - This is a very early peach, a white cling, very large and soft. It is more sour than most peaches. Seemed nice for its season. Highly susceptible to stinkbugs. John RIvers nectarine - Squirrels got all, sigh. Nectar - Squirrels got all of these yet again. This and John Rivers are by their escape route and are also very tasty. This peach has been better than Carman as an early white peach. Clayton - I didn’t thin well enough, got small and not as sweet peaches. This is an excellent peach but is an extreme oversetter that needs many thinning passes. It also ripened in the peak of the rains this year. Ernie’s Choice - Another great year for these guys. I also didn’t thin nearly enough but they are still excellent if a bit smaller than usual. This peach is about to bump ahead of Clayton, it took several years to produce good fruits but is really cranking now. Summer Beaut nectarine - A very nice tasting nectarine from one fruit it made. Sunglo nectarine - Very good fruit, not as much flavor as Mericrest but same sweet/sour and a very good flavor balance making it an excellent nectarine overall. Relatively little rot for a nectarine. Some shriveling as they ripen, not a good market looker. This one is a keeper for me. Carman - Again inconsistent on the flavor. If there is no green in the skin they are excellent, but many are ripe but still have green and those are bitter in the skin. Nectar, which the squirrels got all of this year, seems like a better white peach of this season, as well as Zin Dai. They also go to mush fairly quickly, the eating window is small after picking. I am heading to topwork part of this tree, in an easier peach climate it could be great but not for me. Zin Dai Jiu Bao cling - Only got one as it is being moved this year. It is more mild than Carman but much more balanced in the flavor with that subtle “creamy” flavor of the best peaches - an extraordinary peach. Glad I now have a whole vigorous tree devoted to it! Shui Men honey - This peach is very sweet and flavorful, it is much better than last year when it dropped and produced a few mediocre fruits. I am still losing a lot to drop and rot, and I did not get many fruits from the tree. So far its looking like a very good peach taste wise; they look ugly like Foster. The flavor is more rich compared to Pallas/Athena which have a more clean and honeyed flavor - Shui Men tastes more like a standard white peach, less like honey wrapped in a peach robe. It is ripening exactly in honey peach window though. Overall its looking like a keeper but is going to be more work due to rot susceptibility. Foster - An excellent rich sweet perfectly balanced yellow peach. The best tasting but ugliest looking peach. Not too bad on rot but very bug susceptible. Highly prone to bird/bug damage due to early sugaring up. My sweetest peach by a couple brix I would say, only nectarines are sweeter. Early Crawford - Tiny but tasty. On the sour side. I probably should topwork this given the very small fruits. This is likely a seedling of the original Early Crawford since its much smaller than the old drawings/descriptions. Kit Donnell below is a good substitute peach, it is larger and has similar flavor with less mealiness. Fantasia nectarine - only had a couple fruits but they all rotted. Might be a bad rotter but will keep for a couple more years. Its also still above average rot now, I should really do an MFF to try to limit the rot. Red Baron - This tree had bad borers and is only now starting to recover. It is a top-quality peach with excellent balanced taste and plenty of sweet/sours. Fruits are a bit on the small side but look very nice, no spot etc. Relatively good on rot as well. It is becoming one of my favorites now that the root is recovering. Kit Donnell - It was the first year on this with a small harvest. Sweet/sour like Crawford peaches, it was bred from Baby Crawford supposedly. Sizing up much better. Not quite as good as Foster so far, but more experience is needed. Seems to be OK on rot and looks very nice and clean. This could be a really good one. Athena honey - These are just coming in. They are mild and honeyed, not as sweet as the earlier Shui Men honey peach but more purely like eating honey. A very nice peach but very prone to rot as are all the honey peaches. Pallas honey - very similar to Athena, somewhat later and smaller. O’Henry - Excellent flavor, one of the best. Had much more rot than usual on it. Sanguine Tardeva - Yes this is an excellent red-fleshed peach. Not rotting as horribly now that root is healthy. More red than Sanguine Pilat and correspondingly more cranberry flavor. Sanguine Pilat - Excellent as usual; larger than Tardive and not as cranberried. Sanguine de Chateauneauf - Later than the above two; similar to Sanguine Tardeva but larger. This is the first year fruiting so will need a few more years to evaluate but it seems to fall very much into the good red-fleshed peach category. Rot is similar to the two above (i.e., pretty bad).
Carolina Gold - wow these guys are really good this year! Very creamy flavored. Not super high sugar but very well-balanced. OK on rot front. Lady Nancy - This variety has a significant problem of rot, largely related to the spot it is in I think. Too close to large plums which grow tall in summer and shade it out. Most rotted. Non rotting ones excellent and very similar to Oldmixon. Indian Cling - The usual super heavy load of cooking peaches, with little damage of any kind. Late Crawford - Very nice peach, better flesh than EC. Oldmixon Free - Not quite in yet, early ones great as usual. Indian Free - White Heath Cling -
No peentos anymore… I grew a bunch of them but they all had various problems - rot, lack of flavor, or other issues. I topworked my TangOs this spring but will let a limb or two come back since it was the best overall.
Probably my most pleasant surprise this year is the Sunglo is looking really good, I tried many nectarines which had rot problems so I was thinking I would never get many nectarines. Even Mericrest which is excellent tasting just doesn’t size up. I have a bunch of varieties under trial and now hope I will have nectarines coming in over a good portion of peach season. Second is how good Kit Donnell and Red Baron are, I am not going to miss losing Early Crawford with those two varieties in the same ripening period.
Valley Sweet mostly runs 18-22 brix. That’s high for a peach but not a nectarine. My buddy did have some Valley Sweet outdoors on very shallow soil this yr that he said went 26 brix. I didn’t get to taste those.
Scott, please excuse my ignorance, as probably you’ve already described this elsewhere. Of your stone fruit, how many are separate trees and how many are grafts on other varieties? Also, how do you obtain trees/scions for all these varieties?
Valley Sweet was a good choice if the Brix runs 18-22. I got a Foster peach tree from Scott’s wood and it had ten fruits this year. Unfortunately, some critters got them all last week. I will have to wait another year to get the chance to taste it along with my TangOs… The good thing is that my O’Henry is full of fruits but I will have to wait until September to harvest them. BTW, I got a branch of Honey Royale on a Chinese Sweet Pit Cot tree that I am babying it right now. I don’t want to loose this special nectarine because I want to re-graft it to a larger stock next year.
Hi Stan, most of the peaches are standalone trees but I have some backups of varieties on other trees. They are very closely planted, 3’ apart in many cases. I obtained the trees/scions from many different sources, most of the rare ones were either from the CRFG scion swaps or from the ARS germplasm repository.
I have a couple Early Crawford trees and checked them today. It’s still not ready here, although getting closer. It’s weird the way our season seems to start out earlier than yours, then at some point your season jumps ahead.
The fruit of Early Crawford is very small. So small in fact, I doubt I’ll be able to sell them, so I’ll probably remove the trees.
I’ve had a few nectarines this year. The big standout for me so far is Silver Gem.
In terms of new and different peaches, I’ve tried a couple California cling peaches for the first time this year (Vinegold and Babygold #5). They are kind of interesting because they are different. Sweet, but the texture is just like the chewy texture of the NJF flat peaches. It’s not what you expect when you bite into a big round peach. I didn’t have enough to sell and not sure if people would like them or not.
Yeah, Silver Gem was a mindblower here as well and seems to be early enough to reduce pest issues a great deal. I had much more stinkbug dimples with later fruiting types in the area where my experimental orchard is (too many wild brambles growing among the rocks and boulders in between trees). Rich May and Gold Dust peaches were the other varieties that have me extremely excited about a huge improvement in early offerings in my orchard. This year I got a good sampling and next could potentially provide a full crop.
Olpea, were your Silver Gems fairly small? Mine certainly were, but I don’t care because I don’t sell them. Those who I shared them with didn’t care either, though. People just loved it. If they tried them they’d buy them.
So far all of my nectarines have been small, which has been a bit of a disappointment to me. As I recall, Fruitnut mentioned he could grow some 3"+ nectarines but mine did not approach anything near that big, even with the wet summer we had.
I’ve just harvested a few varieties this year. Carene (nothing special), Silver Gem, Hardired (a little bit tart), Honeyblaze (not to my liking because it’s sub-acid). I have a rootstock that produced some 2.5" nectarines and Fantasia looks like it will produce some 2.5" but all the rest were pretty small. Maybe there are some bigger nects out there.
The biggest thing is trying to get a decent looking nect. People, even at most farmer markets, generally buy the first time based on appearance. Of course one can give out samples (and I do that some) which will sell good tasting fruit, regardless of appearance, but most people are willing to try only big round peaches which are blemish/spot free. They won’t buy donuts at all unless you give them one to try, then they’ll those and many times ask for more the next week. Nects are far from blemish/spot free and are hard to sell. I can see why most growers around here don’t grow nects. I doubt I’ll plant anymore new ones myself.
Thats an impressive difference fruitnut. I don’t see the lower case much due to the amount of water we usually get here.
Re: nectarines, so far all of the new ones I am growing are bigger than Mericrest at least. They are small compared to peaches but at least they are bigger than golf balls. I have Fantasia and they look reasonably big, along with Sunglo, Summer Beaut, and Flavortop. These trees are only in their 2nd year and have only a couple fruits so they should be getting bigger as the trees mature.