alan haighAugust 20, 2013

I had heard that Earnie's Choice is often highly rated in CA taste tests and I've picked some good ones in the past from trees in my nursery that made me see the promise.

Today I picked one from the top of a now well developed tree in my orchard- it was huge, dead ripe and I tried it. I don't know if it was the best peach I've ever eaten but I can't remember any better. Bear in mind that I've already eaten a couple from the same tree this season that were very good but at the top of the tree I think I got a chance to sample how it must taste after ripening in a CA season of cloudless days. This season most of our days have been like that.

The texture and juiciness were what I expect from any very good peach with all the sweetness I want but what made it distinctive was a real lemon taste and slight sour in the finish. I've never eaten a peach with a distinctive lemon essence before.

I wonder if this is how a really good Earnie's Choice is supposed to taste. Got a lot more ripening up there high in the tree.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Maybe you should ditch those 14 ft trees and bring the good fruit down where it's easy to pick ....;-)

Glad you are getting some great fruit!!!!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:27PM
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alan haigh

Sorry, but my deer get pretty tall on their hind legs- I need 14ft so I have 7 ft to myself. Thanks, though, for your gladness- I am pinching myself this year. This has never been so much fun.

No squirrels, no raccoons, few wasps, few pecking birds, few cloudy days, no sequential days of rain, no hard late frosts, almost no stinkbugs. For the northeast, the season of a lifetime.

If I lived in CA, I'd take all this for granted.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have found them inconsistent. They were fantastic this year for me as well, the only problem is I am renewing the tree so I didn't get enough fruits. They have been relatively bland and/or mealy some years, and some years they are your average good yellow peach. They are probably more consistent in that perfect CA climate.

Right now its Early Crawford that is wowing me, they are tiny but packed with flavor.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:06PM
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You make me sad I don't have Ernie's Choice, but right now Ed's choice is his Hale Haven, which produced some of the biggest and absolutely the most flavorful and juiciest fruit they have ever been for me, and that is after a very rainy June and early July and no more than ave sunny days since here in W.PA.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:22PM
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alan haigh

Scott, I know what you mean. Anything I say about varieties this year has to be taken with a grain of salt- so much of the fruit is extraordinarily good.

One exception is my Satsuma plum, which has, along with many in my nursery, chlorosis. None of my other plums has this, which looks like what you'd expect if they were growing in very high pH soil, like premature fall colors of the leaves. There was another site where I needed to add N. to peaches because early heavy rain actually created a deficiency- maybe that's what's going on here. These plums aren't sizing up well although they are still good.

Yet newer shoots have normal leaves.

Ed, Hale is a Haven I've not tasted but have heard it has exceptional flavor.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:51AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"but at the top of the tree I think I got a chance to sample how it must taste after ripening in a CA season of cloudless days. This season most of our days have been like that."

I'm really starting to think weather affects different varieties differently (if that makes sense).

What I mean is that for years my favorite peach has been an unlabeled peach that ripens a couple weeks after Redhaven. Some years it really stands out, some not as much, but it's always excellent.

Last year during the drought I was bragging on the unknown peach to a customer that, "It's the best peach of the season." We walked up to the tree and tried a sample of it. It was excellent as usual. We then tried a couple other varieties that ripen at the same time. To my surprise he said the other peaches were just as good as my favorite, and I had to agree with him. The whole experience left me scratching my head.

This year we had some pretty heavy rains and lots of cloudy cool weather a couple weeks ago. We had so much rain, Redhaven, which is normally a very high quality peach here, was not that good (Although peaches that received max. sunlight were still pretty good.)

White County, which ripens a week after Redhaven, was completely inedible IMO. Huge peaches but the heavy rain completely ruined the flavor.

We've been dry and sunny for a while and peach flavor is improving across the board. I've sampled several Allstar and Harrow Beauty and while good peaches, not great. Yesterday I sampled a few of the unknown variety, and once again - fantastic flavor in spite of the previous rain.

It was then that it hit me that weather can affect different varieties differently. It may seem obvious to some, but I had never thought of it that way. I (almost sub-consciously) assumed weather had the same general effect regardless of variety. But this unknown peach seems to be a variety more or less unaffected by weather, whereas other varieties I've planted, that ripen in the same time slot, are more affected.

This would also explain to me, why some forum members in the East (Scott and Hman) have never thought very highly of Redhaven, while here it's in the top 5 of my favorite peaches. Generally by the time Redhaven ripens here (last part of July/beg. of Aug.) the ground is bone dry and temps are 90 or 100.

There is one other caveat to all this. Normally I summer prune peaches (removing the growth in the upper canopy) by mid-July. This year I didn't do that. We had a light crop so there was a lot of rank growth above the peach canopy, shading a lot of peaches. I finally got the tops cut down about a week ago. I know that helped flavor quite a bit. It should have been done a lot earlier.

Pardon me if my post is somewhat off-topic, but I thought the weather back East affecting Ernies Choice in a very positive way, sort of tied in with what I'm trying to say. Ernies Choice is also a very good peach here.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:11AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Our weather is like harvestman is describing every year. Well it's typical, always exceptions to every rule! Besides the weather, we don't have any stinkbugs here. The other pests leave my stuff alone. Nothing is protected, no reason to. I have to move maybe 40 miles north and that may be enough to change things. Deer will be an issue unless I move into a small town. At least I have about 5 more years here. I'm going to have to learn to graft to take my trees with me!

I have a theory that because few people garden in my suburban neighborhood, pest pressure is lower. No reason for them to be here. I may get "discovered" one day.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 10:46

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Olpea, I have noticed the same thing, some varieties are more consistent than others. Also some are inconsistent but go from one kind of good to another kind of good, whereas another variety may go from a good to a not so good. The Early Crawford are the former, their flavor has varied quite a bit from year to year but they are always outstanding. Many years I notice a hint of orange in the flavor but there is almost none of that this year.

I also agree that clouds/rain at ripening time is one of the biggest factors in flavor. My earlier peaches were all not as good this year since it rained a lot. The rain has lessened recently and the flavor has picked up. It even seemed like two days of sun after a rainy spell made a big difference in peach flavor on the varieties that were in the middle of ripening then - I was picking at the same softness but the flavor ticked up noticeably on the same trees.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:26PM
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alan haigh

Think size of peach might be more the issue than variety? It takes more sugar to sweeten a big peach. I know the peach variety I talked about before that I got from Scott was pretty small but full of flavor and sugar for an early peach. Shouldn't take as much sun to get such a peach sweet unless you are pretty careful to thin to ultimate size, maybe.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:11PM
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