Way back in 2003 when a group of our CSA subscribers helped us first secure a piece of land with the security to plant fruit trees, we decided to focus primarily on Peaches and Nectarines. Taken together, these so-called “stone fruit” produce over a long season and are far more popular than Plums, Pluots and other summer fruits.
If you’ve ever had a summer fruit tree in your yard, you know that all the fruit on the tree ripens together and must be harvested within a 7-10 day period. Contrast that with citrus fruit, which can hang on the tree for 3 months or longer once it is ripe. In order to have peaches over the entire summer, we needed to have at least one variety for each week. We ended up planting 15 different varieties, and since then have added another 10.
Peaches and nectarines are broadly classified as either “yellow” or “white”, based on the color of their flesh. But most “yellow” peaches are actually orange. More and more, however, plant breeders have been focusing on making both the skin and flesh of both “yellow” and “white” types redder. So many of the peach varieties we grow have skin and flesh that is at least half red. They should be called “Sunset” or “Sunrise” types.
White peaches, for the most part, have less acid than yellow ones. This usually makes them sugary and bland. While “low acid” varieties of yellow peach do exist, we decided to focus on the more flavorful “balanced flavor” varieties. We grow very few white peaches.
In any given week, you may get 2 different varieties of peach/nectarine in your boxes. This is one reason we don’t normally list the names of the varieties on the box list. The other reason is that most peaches have painfully boring and unmemorable names. Peach breeders seem to be completely unaware of 21st century trends like “branding” and “marketing”.
We are more than halfway through our stone fruit season, which generally runs from mid-May to Labor Day. Because of the wet spring, which can impact the bloom and fruit as well as bring disease, we were expecting a relatively poor crop. But apart from a late start thanks to the cooler weather, it has turned out to be a nicely abundant year. We hope you’ve been enjoying the fruit.