A vote for Reliance

MichaelDecember 7, 2013

I've read plenty of baad press here on Reliance's flavor but have found an excellent use for the many gallons of peach nectar mine produces for me year after year. I mix the nectar, composed of the entire peach minus the skin, stem and pit with a good quality orange juice at a 1:1 ratio. The nectar gets canned and is quick and easy to produce.

I love the 1:1 mix and rue the day that I run out each year. Even if I had a peach that was already sweet, I'd still mix it with the orange juice because the 2 complement one another on my tongue nicely bringing out flavors in one another that aren't there individually.

So, if the point to growing is to get to where you want to go, Reliance is an excellent choice for me - extremely cold hardy and very productive with a short enough picking window to make processing not too burdensome. Just to curse myself, in 8 years the tree has never lost the blooms to frost though 2 times it seemed like it was going to be darned close. Sorry old man Winter.

One spray of Kocide in the Spring just prior to bud break each year and I've had no disease problems, lucky me, never once sprayed it for insect problems but do coat the trunk and scaffolds with a very thick coat of Surround in the Spring and keep it there all Summer for the borers.

So, for me, the tree has been an excellent choice. I have no doubt that there are sweeter peaches but mine is providing for me just fine, thank you.

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Awesome! I agree you can find ways to make any fruit work. Unlike many users here, i would not rip out a plant for bad taste. I would blame that on me not finding a way to utilize the fruit. Sounds like a decent tree!! Seems it's name fits!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 7:37PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Where in KS are you? Im just north of Norton across the state line. I just planted 10 and Im hoping my climate wont be too hard on them. Im really glad to hear you haven't lost any to frost yet!

I make wine out of most of my fruit, so the taste isn't a huge deal for me either.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 10:56PM
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I live near Omaha NE, so definitely colder then you guys. Based on the trees owned by friends and myself, Red Haven, Contender, Madison and many others grow here just as well as Reliance. I got a sample of Reliance from a friend and while it is better then grocery store it was not even close to being as good as what you could have.

I have an Encore, which is better then Reliance but not as good as the three I mentioned, so I am doing a gradual makeover to mostly Red Haven. Which I think it a much better solution then blending it.

I am bud grafting each fall and am planning it so that I am getting plenty of peaches each year, but within 4 years will be getting only a few Encore.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 11:11AM
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alan haigh

What does it matter how good your Red Havens were once you get to Encore's season? Encore is a good peach made great by its lateness, IMO.

Reliance is also a good peach, though, IMO, not as good as Encore, if I could possibly eat them side by side. Some years my Encores are top-notch with a touch of acid, fine texture, good size and high brix.

Obviously there are plenty of better peaches than Reliance in its season and its bud-hardiness advantage is over rated. A couple degrees difference rarely matters- usually its either too cold for all peaches (a real test winter here- below -20) or buds are going to be fine. Spring hardiness is a greater concern and that is not Reliance's asset as I understand it.

Still, I've tasted delicious peaches from Reliance trees.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 11:56AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Getting back to the use michael357 is using these for, these other peaches might actually be worse in a nectar solution with orange juice. Sometimes great tasting peaches process poorly.

I'm growing Arctic Glo nectarine (The tree is still young) strictly for processing. It's super tart semi-clingstone. Sure I'll eat a few fresh, I like fruit with a bite, and if super ripe it's pretty balanced. Usually so much sugar is needed in any preservation that I find these tart fruits work and taste better to me. It's a Zaiger fruit that grows well in the east, sold by Adams. I would like to try Arctic Jay in the future, more balanced for fresh eating. Super high taste test scoring nectarine. In the last couple years they dropped zones down one to zone 6. Enough people must have had success in Z6 to lower the zone requirement.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 12:37PM
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alan haigh

I've ordered one and will let you know how it is in about 3 years.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 1:15PM
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I definitely love the fruit fully ripe off the tree, no doubt there are others I'd enjoy as much maybe more.

As far as the processing, it's just pit them and run them through the hand crank juicer with the coarsest screen and the skins are gone. The nectar is simply canned without anything added at all. The fresh fruit is certainly sweeter than the canned stuff, no surprise there but, I don't care to add any sweeteners while canning, the OJ is my sweetener and it is blended into the nectar long after the canning as I need more blend made up over the months.

Jag: I'm near Esbon so, I doubt our climates will vary significantly other than you getting some more moisture. The only thing missing in Reliance I guess is a sticky sweet characteristic some people can't get enough of. Mine are sweet and peach tasting enough for me off the tree and very juicy.

H-man, by Spring hardiness, do you mean the flower buds' ability survive cold?

Hope to get a few fruit off my 3rd leaf Redhaven this coming Summer, finally, something to compare the Reliance to.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:15PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

If you are near esbon then I'm still 150 miles north and west. We are quite abit dryer but only a half dozen degees colder I suppose. I'm a little colder than Omaha too. I've got 10 reliance and 10 red haven planted so I should be started good.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:32PM
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alan haigh

Winter hardiness is all about the hardiness of the buds to extreme cold, but spring hardiness is often about a drawn out blooming period where some of the blossoms open much later than the first ones. This is something Madison is known for. I don't know if some varieties of peaches are more vulnerable than others when at an equivalent state of bloom.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Harvestman, regarding the lateness of Encore making it great. We are leaving some on just to get some late peaches. But this tree has been giving peaches for three years, and we've been getting the others the last 2. The result is we don't get excited about the Encore. It just doesn't have that explosion of favor that we had gotten hooked on in the earlier months. Plus it is apple season when Encore is ready, so we would rather mostly skip the Encore. But would rather have Encore then Reliance or Belle of GA.

This post was edited by cckw on Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 10:37

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 10:36AM
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alan haigh

I'm going to be eating apples all winter so I don't rush into focusing on them. My Encores are just about as good as any peach I grow on a year with clear warm weather in mid to late Sept. Tastes vary, and varieties vary from region to region and even site to site- also based a lot on how much you thin.

I'm going to experiment with O'Henry as a late here as it has the highest reputation for flavor in its season. I've just started harvesting White Heath here at Scott's recommendation and it is a highly flavored peach that comes very late.

I use peaches and nectarines on waffles or in oatmeal every morning when they are in season, and apples are not that great for this to my tastes.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 5:20PM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

"Tastes vary, and varieties vary from region to region and even site to site"
I think you hit the nail on the head Hman. Reliance has been a great peach for me and Encore is a big disappointment. Mine don't taste nearly as good as Reliance, Elberta, or Intrepid. It is better than Belle of GA, but that's not saying much. Furthermore, when my Intrepids got slammed by brown rot this year (this wet Summer was the first year rot got out of control for me) Reliance seemed to fare much better.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 9:00PM
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H-man: Thanks for answering my query.

Jag, if the productivity of my tree is any indication, you'd better be ready for a boat load of fruit on the orchard full you planted.
FWIW, our soil is calcareous with a very high lime content (2 - 5% lime). I irrigated the tree once or twice/yr during these last 2 drought years. During wetter years, no irrigation. Furthermore, I still have yet to fertilize the tree as the leaves still show no deficiency symptoms and I'm getting abundant shoot growth every year. The soil is a sandy clay loam and the top soil is 2' deep, pH 7.4, % O.M = 1.4.

As far as bud hardiness goes this year, I hope the poor things got some antifreeze in them before the bottom fell out and we plunged from a protracted, warm Fall into a sudden, unusually cold end of November and start of December.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Sudden hard winter here in Minneapolis too. -16 F this past weekend. I gotta hope my Contender makes it. This will be the third winter. The last two didn't phase it, but this one is starting out real tough.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 10:34PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

I sure hope my newly planted trees survive. It was -8f real temp yesterday morning and most of those trees have only been in the ground a month.

Mike, my ground here isn't quite as heavy as yours. Little less OM, no clay, less water. I'm not counting on bumper crops out here, that's why I planted so many.

Spent all day yesterday cutting down some walnuts at hardy ne.....colder than the hubs of h*ll!!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 11:22PM
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alan haigh

-8 is nothing. I've been bare root transplanting for decades and usually don't stop until the ground freezes in mid to late Dec (when it happens- sometimes heavy snow comes first). These recently transplanted trees have survived test winters here below -20. As long as the trees are mulched they will probably be fine.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 5:24AM
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Jag: best of luck with the new trees, hope you get pleasantly surprised and are swamped with fruit in a few years!

With the warm weather approaching I thought about starting the Winter pruning in the apples and then decided not to as I'm uncertain about them being dormant enough to prune now. Sure would be nice to prune on 50 degree sunny, wind free days instead of the usual lousy weather later in the winter.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 7:30PM
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