Peach Report 2013
Here is my annual peach report. As most of you probably know by now, I have lots of unusual heirloom and modern peaches growing, with the goal of finding the very best taste with good growability.
This year for the first time I did a midseason MFF spray and I had much better luck with brown rot. Only Sweet Bagel rotted badly.
The squirrels were nonexistent until one day they were everywhere, and I lost the first couple weeks of peaches. As usual. I haven't eaten a Gold Dust in three years now.
Stinkers this year were well in evidence, in particular on some peach varieties. But I never found more than 2-3 on any one tree; the level was low enough that I never had the desire to spray Surround.
OFM was almost non-existent on early peaches but I had a fair amount on the very late varieties. Late OFM damage has been a problem for several years now. I probably needed to renew mating disruption lures in July, and do a later spinosad on the late varieties.
These are listed in order of ripening.
Gold Dust - squirlz got them yet again.
Nectar - squirlz. I had thinned a branch of very immature fruits and left it on the ground, big mistake .. it got the squirlz interested in the ones on the tree. Theres a mistake I won't make again.
Sanguine Pilat - squirlz.
John Rivers - squirlz.
Flat Wonderful - squirlz. I'm seeing a pattern here.
Clayton - I put a trap in this tree and things got flipped, the tree ate the squirlz :-) The early Claytons were fine but not great. Later ones were very good. I let a few stay on too long and those were mealy. Clayton has a big problem with overset, it needs major thinning or the fruits will not size or flavor well. This year I think the flavor took a bit of a hit due to underthinning.
TangOs - I still think this is a good peach but they are not uniformly good. Lots of rubber there and some did not ripen well, they never sweetened up. Also more emphasizing the sweet as opposed to flavor. While the fruits are stil beautiful and I like how different it is, my excitement for this variety has waned.
Winblo - Excellent taste, better than Clayton on average this year. Tree still in borer recovery mode but doing better than last year.
Mericrest - WOW! These guys are stellar, the best so far this year. Very intense flavor. The fruits are small but not as small as last year. Overall this is the only real keeper of all the nectarines I tried.
Zin Dai - Very very nice elegant flavored white peach. More flavor than I recall from last year. Tree is very productive, seems like a real winner. Clingness is only negative.
Carman - A very good white. I am less positive on these this year, they have a bit too much of that "green peach" flavor. I think it may be related to the rain at ripening; some of them were really good.
Red Baron - Lots of flavor, very good. Plus blooms that I get comments from the neighbors on. Squirlz got most unfortunatley.
Peregrine - Squirlz for the 5th of so year in a row.
Ernie's Choice - Squirlz got nearly all of these; I had one which was very good, better than I remember from this variety. They are a hard peach and need to be picked earlier than other varieties if going by the finger push by stem test. Huge fruits; lumpy shape with a big seam. I was going to take it out but I think I will keep it for a few more years.
Baby Crawford - Fruits small but not as small as Early Crawford. Head to head with EC this guy is less sweet, less sour, less flavor. It has a more creamy flavor than EC. I would rank this guy similar to Carolina Gold, but its fruits are smaller and the tree is less productive. Not what I had hoped for overall, but still a good peach
Athena - A honey type peach. Very good this year, I thinned more than usual and they are sizing bigger and tasting excellent. This tree is looking like a real winner, I'm glad I stuck with it. Some fruits were smaller and not very good but the bigger fruits were truly excellent. One of the best this year.
Okubo - tree dying, no fruit.
Lola Queen - Good peach that is very similar to Carmen; ripens two weeks later. Looks better than Carman, more like Zin Dai in looks less Green more round. Lots of damage on fruits, I think stinkbugs got it early on. Flavor is excellent, a top white peach.
St. John - Tree is getting some rot on damaged areas. Shows its high rot susceptibility; but, with the MFF they didn't all rot like they usually do. Taste is excellent as usual, sweet/tart and a touch of apricot. Fruits are more normal size this year, I thinned it better than I had been doing. If not for the rot this would be a top peach, its one of the top three for flavor. The fruits are also very soft and more prone to bug infestations. Overall while this peach has great flavor its not worth the work.
Eagle Beak - Squirlz.
Dixon Cling - This peach has a very good flavor but its more a cooking peach, they were rubbery even after letting hang a long time. There isn't a lot of room where this one is so it will probably be removed.
Early Crawford - Excellent as usual. Sweet/tart and a lot of flavor. Getting a good sized harvest this year. Only problem is the birds and wasps know its good as well. Fruit are small, smaller than any other peach. They don't do well when left to hang too long in hot weather, they start doing something like water coring from the inside out. I also had this on several other varieties ripening in the hot weeks.
Foster - Very sweet and flavorful and excellent flavor balance. Truly great when perfectly ripened. Tree had borers so not many fruits on it. Also the fruits seem more susceptible to bug etc damage than most.
Longevity - Tree is in trouble. I got a couple small fruits that were quite good, they remind me of its parent, Eagle Beak.
Carolina Gold - Coming in with a big load this year. This is a good quality peach. The main advantage is the peaches are looking very nice and the productivity is very high.
Pallas - Thinned better than usual, getting some quite large size fruits. They taste similar to but not quite as good as Athena this year. Needs extreme thinning due to strong set.
Lady Nancy - A very good white peach. Very similar to Oldmixon Free, the only difference I notice is the seed on LN was a bit smaller. I was not comparing equal levels of ripeness since LN is a small graft still.
Oldmixon Free - fantastic as usual. These later whites are a significant step above the early ones. The early ones when good are just as good, but they can have too much "green" flavor in them. Some of the OF fruits are lesser this year, I think I let the tree overset. They are still big, just not enough flavor. 90% of the fruits are excellent.
OHenry - Wow, these were awesome this year! Vying with Early Crawford for best peach honors. Super rich and sweet. The dry weather must have helped them.
Late Crawford - Very good this year, also very large. Turning into an exceptional late peach with large amounts of classic peach flavor. Fruits very fragile is only downside.
Sweet Bagel - The one limb I kept is rotting, sigh. Overall it is too rot-prone.
Indian Cling - Heavy production as usual. They seem to be best if picked as they start to drop off and then let sit inside for 3-5 days before cooking with them. They can be hard/rubbery even after cooking if they are picked early and cooked right away. I made some excellent sorbet from them this year.
Indian Free - Eye popping flavor as usual, WOW. Thinned better this year so fruits are normal peach size. A few fruits rotted but most were OK. This is probably my #1 peach for taste.
Heath Cling - I am starting to think the premature drop of these is correlated with bugs in the fruit - I am finding OFM in many of the dropped ones. I managed to harvest a fair number from the tree this year. This variety is a keeper, it and Indian Free are far later than others. It is not a fresh eating peach, pretty much cooking only; cooking greatly improves the flavor as well. Historically it was a cooking, drying, and pickling peach.