There were some requests for an update to my last stone fruit report in 2015 … here it is!
One thing I should mention is many of these are unusual types, I get excited about something different. I grew many flat peaches, honey peaches, red-fleshed peaches, white apricots, etc. Many of these unusual kinds I still like. I also grew a great many heirlooms, a few were interesting but over the years I have phased out most of them due to various flaws.
For the first ten or so years of my orchard I used no synthetic sprays, and I had a massive problem with brown rot. You will see lots of things I took out due to rot. Now that I am using synthetic controls I can easily grow all but the most extreme rotters. So, I could in fact re-add some of those and have in fact for a few, e.g. Flavor King, Elephant Heart, and Howard Miracle plums.
There are few “mainstream” apricots on this list and many white apricots. There were many obscure white apricot varieties and I decided to do a methodical search for a few good ones. But I don’t think any really worked out alas.
I had a good ten years of always getting a crop, but more recently I am getting about half the crop. Full load some years, and partial or none other years.
Early Blush - Very early (1st week of June) and a good fruit in all respects. Its not in the very best tasting group, but its definitely the best tasting fresh apricot I can pick in early June! A great apricot to have as the second or third variety. Adams County Nursery sells it.
Tomcot - This is overall my favorite apricot. It seems to come through frosts better than most, in spite of not being late on the bloom. It is relatively early so avoids the main rot season. The taste is very apricot-y, with a flavor like dried apricots - one of the best. It is not as juicy as some apricots but its not annoyingly dry either.
Nicole - This is a relatively new California cot. It is a good tasting cot, with good acids and flavor. Like many CA-bred cots however it is prone to spotting. Spotting causes many apricots including Nicole to not size up well. Removed.
Robada - Very sweet fruits with an unusual flavor in the skin that I like a lot. There is a touch of astringency in the skin even at fully ripe, it adds to the flavor. They don’t have a lot of aroma however. They are not sizing up well due to high susc. to spotting in spite of sprays to prevent. Overall it is similar to Nicole in terms of spotting/sizing but a more unusual flavor and sweetness level. In climates with fewer disease problems this is one of the best, but it is probably not for me; removed.
Ilona - This was recently released by Rutgers/ACN. It is getting some brown rot shoot blight as well as a small amount of rot on some fruits. The taste is very good, in the Orangered school of taste. Overall this is a new “winner” apricot for the Mid-Atlantic. If you are growing Orangered it doesn’t seem worth it to have both though as they are too similar in taste and ripen at the same time more or less.
Orangered - Fruits are large and blushed red. The taste is a mild liquid peach/apricot flavor. It is a very well-balanced and refreshing flavor. It is not as strong as Tomcot which tastes fresh more like the intense flavor of a dried apricot. I have had no significant problems with diseases, cracking, etc on it. Overall, this is becoming one of my favorite apricots. It is moderately susceptible to rot.
Harglow - It had much less flavor than Tomcot and also cracked some years. Removed ~2008.
Sugar Pearls white - I was not particularly impressed with this variety; is not very sweet or flavorful. It is nothing like Zard or the other truly tasty white-fleshed apricots. Removed 2014.
Moniqui white - This tree had a few years where it set well, the only white I ever had to do that, but then it figured out it was a white apricot and had better stop setting so much. Who knows what happened. It is a great tasting fruit but is a bit on the small side. Fruitlets form early and it needs an early curculio spray which I often miss. Unlike the other heirloom white apricots this is a European variety, from Spain.
Helena - This is a new California-bred apricot. Like most of the CA bred ones, its looking like a bust in the east. It gets bad peach scab spotting in spite of heavy sprays I did on it. It dropped prematurely as well, but it will take a few years to see if it outgrows that. I did not get an optimal sample due to the dropping, but I did get some reasonable tasting fruit. Fruit are huge and have a nice strong flavor, with very orange crunchy flesh, but low in sugar. Removed.
Puget Gold - This variety spots very badly for me. This would cause the fruits to runt out and not sweeten up well. Removed ~2008.
Seips White / Yakimene white - These two varieties I obtained from different sources under different names but they are very similar so I have grouped them together. They are also close to Spark’s Mammoth in description so they may in fact be that variety. It is a very large, tasty white apricot, with a mild honeyed flavor. The main problem I had had is very limited fruit set and both were removed.
Zard white - This is an excellent tasting white apricot. It took quite a few years before it started setting regularly but did produce some years. Fruits are small but excellent tasting; meaty and richly flavored. The seed is very large. They are bird resistant with white coloring. Flesh is on the soft/mushy side. Zard is one of the few truly late-blooming apricots, it blooms a week or more later than the others. I would have kept this one but the tree died, and I did not replace it.
Peche de Nancy - This is a tasty apricot but I found it very susceptible to rots and other diseases on the fruits. Removed ~2009.
Canadian White Blenheim white - This apricot seemed pretty much identical to Zard in all dimensions: the unusual late bloom, fruit ripening, size, taste, etc. The variety name came into being due to a scion mix-up and it in fact it could be Zard. I took it out since I needed more space and it seems like I already “had” this variety. Removed ~2008.
Shalah white - Larger than Zard, very sweet, excellent flavor. I would say it is similar to but a notch above Zard for flavor and texture. If this apricot could be productive it would be awesome.
Lasgerdi Mashaad white - Light, delicate and sweet. A different flavor dimension compared to Zard/Shalah but also excellent. Similar cropping issues as with Shalah. It blooms better than Shalah but doesn’t end up setting well for me.
Afghanistan white - This variety is similar to the Seips/Yakimene but with smaller fruits. Like them it has been a very poor setter for me. The tops tend to get overripe and damaged when the bottoms are still underripe. I removed it.
Shekar Pareh plumcot - This is an “aprium”, its a plum/apricot hybrid that tastes very much 50-50 plum-apricot. For some reason it is always sold as an apricot, but its fairly obvious from its leaves, growth habit, and fruit that it is an aprium. It took several years to get productive but eventually settled into very good production. It needs heavy shoot thinning. The tree is also far too vigorous and requires a lot of summer pruning and shoot thinning. I have had dropping problems so have been harvesting earlier, when they are pleasant tasting but lower in sugars and more sour. Later fruits are more like apricot, more sweet, but too late and they get mushy. Overall I don’t think the fruit like my climate, they don’t complete ripening and start turning to mush when they should be completing their ripening. In a more dry climate they may ripen well. The fruits are very disease and crack resistant, they always look nice in spite of the minimal spraying I do. They are only moderately susceptible to brown rot. Overall, a very interesting and unusual fruit that doesn’t quite make it in my climate. Removed 2013.
Hesse plumcot - This is also an “aprium” as far as taste; it looks like a fuzzy purple plum but has bright orange flesh and tastes like a nice combination of plum/apricot flavors. The flesh is intensely orange; the combination of strongly purple exterior and strongly orange interior is very striking. I have had problems with early dropping some years; it is not yet clear how long-term reliable it will be for me. It is smaller than Spring Satin and with more orangish flesh. It needs to hang a VERY long time after it changes color, it is very easy to pick this one far too early. The Shekar Pareh has been having similar early drop / needs to hang late issues so it may be a pattern in these hybrids. I had no problems with diseases etc on the fruits. A few more years are needed to evaluate this unusual fruit but its looking pretty interesting. Arboreum is the only source I know of.
Habiju/Khakas/Paiwand (Hunza types) - Hunza apricots are from the Pakistan mountains, they are a major agricultural crop in that area. They taste similar to Tomcot but definitely sweeter and perhaps slightly better flavor (smoother?). Unfortunately it sets little, drops a lot all season long, and is highly prone to brown rot shoot blight. The fruit are also very small. I eventually gave up on these.
Stark Sweetheart - These fruits are very small and not a flavor standout, not recommended. The seeds are supposedly edible.
Florilege - This recent French apricot has become one of my favorites, it is perfectly happy in the Mid-Atlantic, being much more disease-resistant than most of the newer varieties. It also ripens later than most and so spreads out the harvest. The taste is great; it is more crunchy than most cots. It is a bit more prone to scab but with disease sprays I have mostly eliminated that issue.
Sukphany white - the usual low set high drop on a white apricot. This guy was particularly prone to dropping and was good but no big standout on flavor. Removed.
Hoyt Montrose - This is a great late apricot for marginal areas, it has a later bloom and more hardy blossoms. The fruit is average in taste for an apricot and is on the small side but they are truly outstanding compared to having no apricots.
Spring Satin plumcot - Very good, aromatic flesh and flavor similar to Flavor Supreme. Don’t let it overset, they can get bland. Also the fruits need to hang a long time for full flavor. Unfortunately they don’t ripen evenly, the tops are often mush when the bottoms are still underripe. I removed this tree for that reason. It was also a massive curculio magnet for some reason.
Nadia - This is an unusual cherry/plum cross but is nearly all plum in behavior and taste. It does occasionally have a touch of cherry flavor in the background. I had problems getting them to ripen well though, they went from underripe and crunchy to overripe and soft/bland far too fast. The few I managed to pick in the right window were great so if the window was bigger I would have kept it.
Earli Magic - this is a good plum, my earliest and with good taste. Very much a mainstream plum flavor wise, tart and plummy; a bit watery some years. Prone to rot. If y ou have several plums already it is worth growing to have a longer harvest period.
AU Producer - I have not gotten many fruits from this variety but it appears to be a standard good-tasting plum similar to e.g. Earli Magic. It is an easy grower.
AU Roadside - Ok but not great flavor compared to other plums I am growing. Its better than a store plum but not up to backyard orchard standards (at least in my climate). Removed.
Flavor Supreme - These plums have amazing sugars, much sweeter than others. But, the tree is one of my worst setters, its 12 years old and hardly sets any fruits at all. I tried hand pollinating and that was no help. Removed.
Purple Heart - These purple-fleshed plums hang purple a long time before softening - it makes it hard to keep all the critters off of them. The fruits want to be large and it needs more thinning than Satsuma. The taste is very similar to Satsuma, not exactly all the same flavors but many common ones and nearly as good as Satsuma. It is good as an earlier, larger version of Satsuma, and one of my favorites. I have no idea why this plum is not more popular. Not 100% consistent on flavor/sugars is their only downside.
Lavinia - A truly excellent plum when fully ripe (red), quenching and with unusual flavor like papaya or cantaloupe. Too small to ever get very popular in markets. Overall this is one of my favorite plums, it is reliable and productive and has had almost no rot. If it were larger in size everyone would be growing it.
Flavor King - This is an excellent-tasting plum with an aromatic fruity sweet-sour flavor, but is highly prone to rot. It sets very well unlike most pluots. It is very attractive to birds for some reason, and had cracking problems every third year or so. I removed it but re-added it when I started using a synthetic rot spray.
Shiro - An extremely reliable disease resistant nice quenching yellow plum. Somewhat prone to rot. They can be eaten over a several week period; I like them darker yellow when they are sweeter and have a bit of caramel flavor in them. It is one of the easiest plums to grow and they have a unique flavor compared to most other varieties so definitely a top one to consider for more plum-challenged climates. Does get black knot.
Santa Rosa - Fantastic flavor, with a unique tart/plummy taste from the strong tartness in the skin. Sometimes it has set OK but most years it has set far too few plums for me. I eventually gave up on it and topworked the tree to Weeping Santa Rosa which tastes similar but sets well.
Weeping Santa Rosa - A bit more sugar and flavor than standard Santa Rosa. PLUS, it sets much much better. It is not the very best setter out there but I get plums every year on it unless there was a complete freeze-out. This is one of my favorites overall.
Dapple Dandy - This is one of the more reliably setting pluots and is similar to Flavor Supreme but not quite as tasty. On the upside it actually sets a crop.
Superior - This is a very good tasting sweet/sour plum. It gets too soft however, they explode with juice when you eat them. The taste is unique and very good.
Howard Miracle - This tree has a twiggy growth habit and requires significant shoot thinning. The few fruits I have gotten tasted very good. Unfortunately it rotted very badly. Removed but I decided to re-add it now that I am using synthetic disease control, and the initial fruits on the new tree are promising.
Belsiana - This myrobalan plum has severe splitting problems. It has an unusual savory taste in the fruits and I would have probably kept it if it were not for the bad splitting. Removed ~2010.
La Crescent (?) - These plums did not have much flavor early, and if let hang turned mealy. Some years they were better, a mild apricot taste. From a 50-year unidentified tree in my parents yard so ID not certain. Removed ~2011.
Sweet Treat Pluerry - Decent but not great; high sugars and very crunchy but cloying kiddy-candy flavor. I have a similar problem with Flavor Grenade, not my favorite flavor. Highly prone to black knot.
Satsuma - I can’t say enough good things about this plum, it is extremely reliable and extremely productive and the plums taste fantastic! When picked at the right time they have a spicy flavor, a very mild clove/cinnamon type thing. The way I tell when to pick them is the bottoms start to lose some of their bloom and are dark purple. If all the bloom is gone the plums will be like jelly and are past their flavor prime. Few disease problems in spite of being pure Japanese.
Wickson - A rich aromatic plum. Much less acidic than Santa Rosa. Overall they are very good but I would put them a touch below Satsuma and Santa Rosa. I am getting some rot on them, and the bugs seem to like them a lot since they are soft. Overall they are not as easy as Satsuma but are a quality fruit. Removed ~2011.
Fortune - I didn’t have much luck with this variety, it did not set well and when it did the fruits were not that exceptional. I probably should have given it a few more years of trial but it was on the same trunk as Purple Heart so I removed it to let the Purple Heart expand.
Gracious - This tree gets shot hole very badly. Also it doesn’t set very well, tons of bloom but no fruits. Removed ~2012.
Sprite - Big problems with splitting. They also are hard to keep the birds off of as they get dark red early and then need to hang a long time fully colored before they are ripe. I gave up on this one after not managing to sample a single ripe one after several years. Removed ~2012.
Padre - This California plum is one of the most shot-hole-prone fruits I have ever grown. It was so bad it actually killed the graft. Died ~2012.
Ruby Queen - This plum was not reliable for me, it did not set reliably year to year and the taste some years was very good and other years completely bland. Its too bad as when it was good it was a very nice plum and it is highly disease resistant. Removed 2014.
Burbank plumcot - Not very interesting flavor and did not set well. Removed ~2010.
Apex plumcot - Another Burbank plumcot; similar comments as Burbank one above. Removed ~2010.
Mariposa - A large heart-shaped red-fleshed plum with a mild pleasant taste. Fine but not up to Satsuma or Purple Heart which it is similar to. It has the advantage of being a lot later than those two plums so it could be useful as a season extender for red-fleshed plums.
Red Heart - Like Mariposa, this is a later version of Satsuma. These plums were highly prone to dropping, but I didn’t get to keep it long enough to give it a full trial. Removed ~2012.
Laroda - Wow. This is similar to Santa Rosa (surely related) but smaller and more sweet and flavorful. It is turning into a real winner, up in the very top group. It also comes later than the other plums. Like Santa Rosa it doesn’t set many fruits, but it is better than Santa Rosa.
Flavor Grenade - Big egg-shaped fruits, and it has great fruit set for a pluot. This plum is quite prone to rot but it can be controlled with a synthetic. They are tasty but too much of a candy sweet taste for me personally.
European plums are not generally very happy in my climate, it is too hot and humid. They are particularly susceptible to black knot, rots, green plum aphids, etc. Sweet cherries are similarly not very suited, but their fruits come earlier so its OK if they lose all their leaves in August, the tree is already done producing.
Pearl - An excellent plum but I never got many of them.
French Petite aka French Prune, Prune d’Agen - Flavor excellent when fully ripe; it is a prune plum but is excellent fresh as well. My tree on citation produced much earlier than the other European plums. Every third year or so they split on the bottoms. When using Surround for curculio control I have problems with late bites on the necks and lose a good portion of the crop then. Any oval plum has this problem.
Fellenberg - The typical blue football-shaped plum. Removed ~2010 to thin my stand.
Coes Golden Drop - One of the most tasty plums when well ripened.
Bavays Green Gage - This tree took a long time to set well but now it is a highly reliable (over) setter. The fruits are smaller than Green Gage but they have recently been even more tasty and overall this is my favorite European plum now. There is a bit of astringency in the taste and that plus the rich sweetness and subtle crunch to the flesh makes it an amazing eating experience, one of the most memorable in my whole orchard. Relative to the other European plums it also seems to tolerate my climate the best - no cracking, no stringiness, not highly susceptible to bugs, and reliable ripening. A true winner!!
Green Gage - I spent many years trying to get this variety to fruit. Wrong variety, bad location, graft died, etc stymied my efforts. I finally have had a graft fruiting the last few years and it is an exceptionally tasty plum, with only Bavays’ beating it. Like Bavays it seems to do reasonably well in terms of bugs etc.
Rosy Gage - Very prone to rot; while it set well I never got any fruit off this tree. Winter 2015 it had an extreme black knot infection all over - much worse than nearby trees. The combination of horrible rot and horrible knot put it under my axe. Removed 2015.
Golden Transparent Gage - A very fine rich-tasting gage plum. The tree vastly oversets and produces a great many doubled fruits. My tree has a huge curculio and moth problem, it is probably the worst tree in my whole orchard for bug damage. The fruits are a bit stringy sometimes and are not quite as rich tasting as Bavays or Green Gage.
Imperial Epineuse - A fine plum. I have had problems ripening them evenly.
Middleburg - An excellent late plum which needs to hang a very long time after they color up to be best tasting. I need to thin it as it vastly oversets and the fruits are bland if not heavily thinned. My tree has not been vigorous. Every year my tree would get a huge bloom of green plum aphids which would then spread to neighboring trees. I finally decided it needed to go for that reason.
Pozecaga - They seem similar to Fellenberg, i.e. a standard prune plum.
Valor - Ditto but fruits are very large. I have not gotten a good enough sampling of this one so far.
I grew a great many heirloom peaches which were interesting for their diversity, but they tended to have flaws in them which caused me to thin them out. There are still a few of them I think are real winners but for the most part I have moved on. For the very best taste it is often the modern nectarines that win, I added them more recently but am making more and more room for necrtarines over the years.
Gold Dust - A very good early peach. Early on I had problems with the tops getting squishy before the rest of the fruit was even ripe. Once the tree matured it got over that and now produces excellent early peaches every year, which the squirrels usually get most or all of alas. Note this is not execeptionally early, but it is the earliest peach I grow.
Sha Zi Zao Sheng - a Chinese peach from ARS. It is a huge early cling peach which is a honey-type peach but with more sours and less sweets than the normal honey peach. It was prone to some unusual spot rot and I decided to take it out.
Saturn donut - A horrible brown rot magnet. Which is too bad, its a very tasty honey-type flat peach. Removed ~2012.
Flat Wonderful donut - A newer flat yellow-fleshed peach. Its perfectly fine but is not very flavorful compared to the better varieties, it tastes watery compared to most of my peaches. It does have some of that slight savory/anise flavor like the old Rareripe variety. Tree has purple leaves in spring which makes an interesting looking specimen. Removed ~2013.
Clayton - An excellent yellow peach with a creamy, Crawford-type flavor. Highly disease resistant as well. This tree oversets in the extreme and needs MAJOR thinning or they will not size up. The only downside of these is they are pretty soft when ripe. But boy are they juicy!
PF11 nectarine - A very good nectarine with large excellent tasting unblemished fruits. Unfortunately my tree died.
Sunglo nectarine - Another excellent tasting nectarine. It is a bit smaller but is one of the very best for flavor.
Galaxy donut - A good but not great tasting large sized white flat peach; not as tasty as Saturn. It doesn’t get brown rot badly, but gets a bulls-eye rot on 10-20% of fruits. Flesh is too stringy; also lots of fruits split at pits. Removed ~2010.
Winblo - Like Clayton and Carolina Gold this variety is from the NC State breeding program in the 1970’s/80’s. I like the peaches they bred because they have both great flavor and high disease tolerance. Winblo is the largest of these three varieties and is a great tasting peach.
Veteran - Watery and not very flavorful. Fruits get soft on tops while bottoms still hard. Not a good one. This may be the wrong variety, I recall eating excellent Veterans. Or maybe its the real thing but it only likes colder climates. Removed ~2010.
John Rivers white nectarine - An excellent variety; no rot and little spotting. John Rivers was once the most popular nectarine in California, it is an old variety. Very few nectarines have been rot resistant so I am really impressed with this guy.
Zin Dai Jiu Bao - A Chinese peach recently imported into the US. This proving to be my best early white peach, it clearly surpasses Carman. None of that green color or flavor, they are white/yellow with a slight red blush when ripe. The flavor is mild but very well-balanced. Pick and let sit a few days on the counter to soften, otherwise its too hard - it is more hard-fleshed than most peaches. Cling.
TangOs donut - Let these hang really late, they are a very good peach that way. They stop becoming so chewy/rubbery and become more juicy. They are susceptible to rot, the problem if you let them hang is most will rot.
Nectar - An excellent white-fleshed peach, one of the best. Brown rot susceptibility looks to be low. Similar to Carman but smaller fruits and less greenishness in the flavor. It is similar in taste to John Rivers which is a parent.
Summer Beaut nectarine - This nectarine has been super reliable and productive for me. The fruits are a bit on the soft side and are not quite as flavorful as the other nectarines, but are pretty close. They are remarkably clean-looking large fruits.
Mericrest nectarine - The fruits get spot on them which causes them to not size up well; they are often smaller than golf balls. With a regular spray program this would probably come out full sized. The flavor is truly excellent, with the intense essence of nectarine. This variety is a keeper in spite of the small size.
Snow Queen nectarine - This nectarine was splitting 100%. Removed 2012.
Le Grand nectarine - Yet another nectarine that is too prone to rot. Removed ~2012.
Ernies Choice - This tree took several years to get happy but its a real winner now: large crops of great tasting and great looking large peaches. There is some red by the pit. It needs major thinning. It is not in the very top flavor group but is close and is one of the most productive varieties so I am keeping it.
Carolina Belle - A disease-resistant white peach. For me it was somewhat less good than Raritan Rose, occasionally bitter. Removed ~2011.
Georgia Belle - An old-time white peach. For me it was somewhat less good than Carolina Belle, smaller and less flavorful. Removed ~2008.
Stark Summer Pearl - A not very interesting white fleshed peach. Similar to Georgia Belle but much better looking. Removed ~2008.
Carman - This old heirloom white peach is one of the few to earn a Very Good rating in peaches of New York. It has been an easy grower and productive tree, but the stink bugs really like the fruits and the taste is a bit on the “green” side - like several other white peaches there is something tinny/odd in the background of the flavor. If they get super ripe they lose nearly all of it but they are often over-ripe by then. Some years they are better than others but I decided it was not consistent enough for me and removed it.
Raritan Rose - This is a solid white peach. They have a tendency to mealiness however and are a notch below the best varieties. Removed 2013.
Lola Queen - Similar to Carman, a half notch below in taste. Also looks a lot like Carman. Definitely coming on later than Carman so not the same peach, also fruits are bigger and seem to have a bigger seam than the Carmans which are mostly round. Both of these two are late 19th century Texan origin fruits so the similarity is probably genetic. Peaches of NY also mentions they are similar. Removed 2013, a fine peach but I only need to keep Carman as the representative of this type.
Foster - These fruits are some of the best, extremely sweet and with a rich but clean and delicate mango-like flavor. For taste alone it is one of my favorite varieties, I agree with Peaches of NY that it is a Very Good. But, it is a very stringly producer, and has a large unattractive seam and uneven shape.
Kit Donnell - This is an excellent peach in the Crawford school of taste. Too bad it died, I hope to re-add it at some point. It is from the CRFG breeding program but is sold by some nurseries now.
Lord Napier white nectarine - This is one of the best heirloom nectarines. It is somewhat less prone to rot and has a good flavor. It is a white-fleshed nectarine. I removed my tree due to rot/bug problems, and the fruits were also not sizing up well.
Sanguine Pilat red-flesh - An outstanding red-fleshed variety with very large fruits and as good a flavor as any red-fleshed variety. No rot on this one, particularly good news for a red-fleshed peach. My graft was weak and it eventually died so I don’t have it any more alas.
Flavortop nectarine - Another solid nectarine, probably my #2 after Sunglo.
Red Baron - This is a truly great peach, the showy pink blossoms are just icing on the cake. It has a very rich flavor similar to O’Henry. The only downside is the fruits can be on the small side.
St. John - This is a great and unique “Very Good” historical peach. The color is lighter yellow, not the usual yellow/orange. The taste is in the mango/apricot realm, different from other peaches. The skin is very fuzzy by modern standards, and it is extremely juicy. Unfortunately it is almost in the highest rot susceptibility group and stinkbugs love it to death as well. I should probably remove it.
Sanguine Tardeva red-flesh - It is somewhat but not horribly prone to rot. The taste is excellent, every bit as good as Indian Free. It is a bit on the small size like Indian Free. In general its more or less the same peach but a lot earlier. Highly recommended but not available commercially.
George IV - This is a solid white peach, similar to Raritan Rose but not quite as perfumed, and also no mealiness issues. It is better than the Carolina/Georgia Belle etc crowd. Nonetheless it is not as good as the best white peaches such as Oldmixon Free. Died ~2009 and did not replace.
Peento donut - One of the original flat peaches, imported into the US 100+ years ago; I obtained it from ARS. I believe this peach was used in the breeding of Saturn. I never had this peach on a good rootstock unfortunately; when it did produce it produced some excellent peaches similar to Saturn in flavor. Less prone to rot than Saturn. It has a bad open seam on the bottom and the skin is very fuzzy and generally they don’t look very nice at all, but they do taste great. Died ~2012.
Longevity honey - This is a new honey peach variety produced by the CRFG breeding program. It is supposed to be like Eagle Beak but I find it more like Pallas. It is extremely prone to rot, so much that I tasted few fruits from it and I eventually removed it.
Peregrine - This tree was always on a weak rootstock. I only got a few fruits over the years; they were good. Died ~2013.
Athena honey - An excellent honey peach. The skin and flesh have very good texture and the honeyed taste is truly excellent. It tends to extreme oversetting like most honey types. Unfortunately it does not have a good ripening window, it goes from underripe to super-soft overripe too quickly. I eventually decided to get rid of it for this reason. This peach was bred by the CRFG and is hard to find.
Shui Mi Tao honey - This peach was highly prone to drop and the fruits were lopsided and not very attractive and the flesh was stringy and the bugs loved it. On the plus side it is a great tasting honey peach. I decided there were too many downsides and removed it.
Early Crawford Seedling(?) - This was the most popular peach in the 1800’s. Its lack of productivity caused it to fade from production. The fruits are very tasty most years, sweet/tart with a hint of orange. They can go soft and mealy if left on the tree too long. I am doubtful I had the original Early Crawford, the fruits were too small and mealy compared to the original descriptions. My tree is likely the same one that was in the WSU NSRP5 program repository so my guess is the tree they had was a seedling and not the original.
Okubo - this is an unusual peach from ARS with a unique taste, but it was very prone to cracking and I never got much in the way of a good sampling from it.
Pallas honey - A very good honey peach with a well-balanced melon/honey flavor. Pallas sets far too many fruits and extreme thinning is needed to get good size and flavor. Honey peaches are one of the major peach types and there used to be several of them grown in the US but they have faded at this point; Pallas and Eagle Beak are the only two old US honey varieties I know to have survived. They are very soft and I expect that is what did them in. The donut peach Saturn tastes like a honey peach (and has Pallas as a parent) so that is a good guide to the flavor - a white peach with a mild honeyed overtone. Honey peaches are famous in China; recently some more honey peach varieties have arrived from China. Note that honey peaches are considered less hardy than other types, and they may not work in colder zones. Athena is very similar to Pallas but has larger fruits; but, Pallas has a better ripening window and doesn’t turn to mush like Athena does. So, I am keeping Pallas but removed Athena.
Silver Logan - This is an excellent tasting white peach, and the fruits are large and beautiful as well. Unfortunately it is a horrendous rot magnet and I removed it a long time ago.
Sanguine Tardive des Chanas red-flesh - This is a later version of Sanguine Tardeva. The flesh is more red, the fruits are a bit larger, and it might be a bit less sweet. But a very nice red-fleshed peach overall.
Rareripe (Yoders) - This tree produces nice but small peaches with a unique mild flavor thats a bit like O’Henry and a bit all its own (papaya??). Far too soft, fuzzy, and small for me to get excited about however. Removed ~2010.
Tashkent Gold nectarine - A very sweet yellow-skinned nectarine. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor beyond the sweetness and would crack every other year or so. Removed ~2008.
JM Mack - An unusual-looking all-white peach with standard peach flavor. Removed ~2012.
Stanwick nectarine - This tree avoids the spot problems of many nectarines. Unfortunately it has the rot problem. The taste is very good, rich and honeyed. Removed ~2012.
JH Hale - This is a standard yellow peach; it is a parent of many modern varieties so there is a genetic reason why it tastes like your average peach. Removed ~2012.
Phils Twin - an uncommon peach which I didn’t get many of before the graft died but it is an excellent tasting peach.
Baby Crawford - I had this peach in one spot on citation and did not do well; later I put it in a different spot on a normal root and I got some great peaches from it. It is not all that small if you just thin it well, it oversets maximally. One of the better-tasting yellow-fleshed peaches overall.
Lemon Free (Unimproved?) - Heavy fuzz, watery flavor. I’m not sure I had the original Lemon Free given how mediocre it was; Peaches of New York gave this variety a Very Good and their ratings I have otherwise found very reliable. Removed ~2008.
Rio Oso Gem - This old yellow peach is excellent, highly flavored and right near the very best. This peach is from California but was commonly grown in the southeast until recently.
Eagle Beak honey - An unusual almond-shaped peach with a small, long, thin seed. It is a honey-type peach and is one of the best tasting. The fruits got horrible brown rot every year and size up poorly, so I removed it.
Lola nectarine - A nice refreshing citrus overtones nectarine. Very high brix. Sort of like Tashkent Gold but more lemony and sweeter (and better). Size is pretty good, bigger than Hative Violette for example. Still small compared to peaches. Having problems sizing up well and rotting. Removed ~2012.
Violette Hative nectarine - I am not sure the variety is correct, I obtained the tree from Vintage Virginia Apples and they told me they had some doubts about the variety matching historical descriptions. The fruits are very small and have too much orange peel flavor. But the flavor is very concentrated and unbelievably sweet. They would make a very flavorful jam. The fruits fare well against the bugs and diseases considering that it is a nectarine. Unfortunately the borers did my tree in so its a goner; it is a unique fruit and I miss it. Died ~2012.
Lady Nancy - Beautiful-looking large fruits. The taste is very similar to Oldmixon Free, i.e. fantastic! A bit more prone to rot than Oldmixon.
Carolina Gold - Another high quality NC State breeding program peach. It has some orange in the flavor. They are similar to Ernies Choice in being a classic productive large yellow peach. Its not as sweet or flavorful as O’Henry but the fruits look a lot better.
Fantasia nectarine - This is an excellent tasting nectarine, one of the winners for me. The fruits are a bit smaller than Summer Beaut. It was not always reliable though, some years the fruits were not good. Removed.
O’Henry - Very sweet and flavorful; similar to Red Baron but fruits larger. It gets a lot of peach scab on the tops so its not the perfect eastern peach but it tastes so good I put up with the spots. It also cracks every third year or so, not enough to ruin the crop but it will cause soem to rot. The flesh is more firm like the modern peach varieties.
Sweet Bagel donut - An intensely flavored yellow donut peach. Truly one of the best for flavor. But, one of the very worst for rot; I finally had to remove it. Removed ~2013.
Xiong Yue - A strongly orange-fleshed late peach, looking more like an apricot in color. The flesh is dense compared to most peaches. It is a freestone which is unusual for Chinese peaches. It has a creamy peach flavor, low in acid. It is long with a pronounced seam and has some splitting problems.
Oldmixon Free (Improved) - This is my standard for a late white-fleshed peach, the flavor is excellent and the fruits are large and attractive. I am not convinced that the modern variety circulating under this name is the same as the historical one, it seems larger and more productive than the writings about the original. There was a later variety called Oldmixon Free Improved and I expect it might be that one. I obtained “Oldmixon Free” from three different sources and all proved to very similar or identical. Whatever it is, its an outstanding peach. Oldmixon Free was a top peach in Downing 150 years ago.
Indian Cling red-flesh - If you want the most bulletproof peach look no further. This tree is very productive and the peaches are more bug and disease resistant than any other variety I grew. The fruits are late and are hard even when fully ripe. The flesh is red. It is a traditional pickling peach and I made pickles from it and they were excellent! In general it is a cooking-only peach, fresh they are not all that interesting. They make a very good pie as they do not get as mushy as other peaches. It is not particularly sweet.
Late Crawford - Sour and flavorful. Ripens over a long period. The tree is prone to late dropping. It took quite a few years for this tree to produce quality peaches but I am glad I stuck with it as it is an excellent peach. I don’t find it all that similar to Early Crawford, it is longer, larger, with a larger seam, and not all that related in taste.
Black Boy - Very similar or identical flavor to Indian Free, but more mealy. Ripens at the exact same time as Indian Free. Seemed somewhat more prone to rot as well. This variety appears to be related to Indian Free but is not quite as good. My tree came from someone who had personally imported it from New Zealand, and according to what I have found in historical records the Black Boy was imported to New Zealand in 1953 from Valencia, Spain. So, it is not likely to be the exact same peach as Indian Free. Removed ~2012.
Yukon King - A great tasting hard-fleshed white peach that had far too many problems with rots and bugs. Removed ~2012.
Sanguine Tardive de Chanas red-flesh - It didn’t have much flavor and rotted badly. Removed ~2011.
Indian Free red-flesh - An excellent cranberry-flavored red-fleshed peach. One of my favorite tasting peaches. Unfortunately it is highly prone to rot. I am not currently growing it as my original tree died, but Sanguine Tardeva is close enough in taste that I don’t have a big urge to re-add it.
Heath Cling - This late peach is a classic old American peach. The fruits are hard and large and have a very light yellow color — somewhere between a white and a yellow peach. It is primarily a cooking/drying peach as the flesh is hard. But if you put them on the counter for a few weeks they will soften, and at that point they have a unique and truly delicious flavor. The fruit are more prone to moths in my orchard and that causes them to drop too early.
Salwey - An old very late hard-fleshed cooking peach with almost orange flesh and good flavor. The texture is very stringy which is probably why it was a cooking peach.
Pei Xian Dong Tao - A Chinese import via ARS. This variety ripens too late for me, they need 2-3 more weeks than my season gives them. It shows how narrow the peach genetics is in the US if there is a peach I cannot even ripen in my climate; it is a month later than any other peach. Removed ~2013.
Home grown sweet cherries are fairly similar to good store bought ones so there is less of a reason to grow them compared to peaches, plums, pears, apples, etc. The main thing I appreciate about growing cherries is sour cherries for cooking, nothing compares.
With a massive amount of bird tape put up right before ripening I have had good success in keeping the birds off most years. Netting also works but it is very hard to do on large trees and I stopped once the trees got bigger than a certain size.
I grew several heirloom cherries which are softer and smaller fruited than modern ones. Their flavor profile is different so there is some advantage to having one if you have many different varieties. Softer cherries are also less prone to cracking since the skin can stretch instead of crack. They were much less productive than modern ones however. My conclusion currently is to only grow Black Tartarian, it is very old and tastes like the old cherries but is a bit larger and more productive.
Early Burlat - Good if you want an early cherry. Was fine for taste. Removed ~2011.
Warterloo - An heirloom, with small somewhat soft but tasty fruits. This tree is very stingy on setting so I removed it.
Black Eagle - As with Waterloo but even smaller and softer and tastier.
White Gold - Very good fully sweetened; make sure to let hang to get yellowish, not whitish-yellow. My favorite cherry overall. It took quite a few years before it set a large crop but it sets very well now.
Sandra Rose - This is the best-tasting sweet I grew. Unfortunately it was highly canker prone and I removed it.
Early Purple Guigne – This is a good-tasting cherries.
Reverchon - An older variety hard to find. Does not crack so much. Was sweet but relatively less flavor; removed.
Hedelfingen - This is a good cherry. It took several years to set well for me. Removed ~2011.
Black Gold - I had two trees of this one, the first one produced great cherries and the second one produced duds. I should probably try a third one.
Black Tartarian - One of the better-tasting red cherries with a nice rich flavor but fruits on the small side which is why it is less popular.
Regina - My current main red sweet cherry, it is not the very tastiest but the tree is very reliable and productive. They need to be picked late or they will not be sweet.
Jubileum - A fine early sour cherry. Removed ~2011.
Danube - Also fine and on the early side. Removed ~2011.
Montmorency - My favorite sour by far, with a unique quenching flavor. There is a reason why this is the classic sour pie cherry. Make sure to let them get nice and dark before harvesting, there are more sugars that way.
Balaton - Less sweet and more firm than Montmorency. Same harvest time as Monty. Removed ~2011.
I don’t think there is much reason for me to grow these in my climate as a “real” sour cherry such as Montmorency is better on every count: smaller seed, more vigor, better taste, no more work, etc. If you wanted to put up a row of bushes they would be nice as landscaping, but for me the deer absolutely loved them and I had to fence them in completely or they would get chewed to nubs. They had all the same growing issues as my other cherries, including plum curculio, fruit flies, etc, and were also prone to mildew some years.
Carmine Jewel - This classic worked the best for me in terms of early fruiting and productivity.
Romeo and Juliet - these varieties were not as vigorous for me and I only got a few fruits. But the fruits I had were more tasty than CJ. I don’t remember the difference between the two very well.