by Dr. Desmond R. Layne, Peach Specialist, Dept. of Environmental Horticulture, Clemson University, 2010
Hey, I’m Desmond Layne, Peach Specialist at Clemson University. Welcome to the Clemson Tiger Peach Network.
Welcome back to “Everything About Peaches”! In our fifth episode today, we’re going to talk about what makes a “perfect” peach and then we’re going to show one to you. The opinions expressed in this video are entirely our own. If you already have your personal, favorite, perfect peach, that’s great! Enjoy them while they last! But if you haven’t found it yet, we encourage you, go out, start looking!”
Hey Dad, do you have any fond memories from your first “perfect” peach experience?
I sure, I do! You know, I remember back when I was a kid in Ontario going out to the peach research orchard with my Dad at the Harrow Research Station – probably about eight years old - and my grandparents were visiting us from Wisconsin. For them, tree-ripened peaches were an exquisite treat. I remember being out there in the orchard tasting those peaches right off the tree – juicy and sweet. They were like candy! I remember my grandparents out there, just hunched over like this, eating peaches, the juice just dripping off their elbows – and they’re like, why can’t we find peaches like this in the grocery store?
Hey Andy, what’s your perfect peach experience?
Mike, when my wife and I bought our first house in Bishopville, South Carolina, we inherited two broken up, lowly, peach trees with that house and they hadn’t been cared for or taken care of. I had been to school at Clemson, and they had taught me how to care for the trees … Dr. Eldon Zehr and different people there – but I had never put my knowledge to work. So I started applying that knowledge and I started doing what I had learned in school on fixing those peach trees. I fertilized them. I pruned them. I thinned them like I was supposed to thin them and we had a perfect spring. They bloomed and they set a beautiful crop. I thinned them like you are supposed and beautiful, huge peaches came on. To this day, I have never tasted a sweeter peach.
Daniel, what about you?
I remember when I was a kid, maybe 6 years old or so - going out to the Musser Fruit Research Farm in Seneca. I remember sitting on my Dad’s shoulders picking ripe, juicy peaches off the tree. And then I remember eating them with the juice dripping off my elbows into my Dad’s straw hat!
Isn’t peach season great, guys?! I mean there is hardly anything that compares with a tree-ripened peach! Oh yeah!!
You know, since we’ve talking about our “perfect” peach experience today, I am wondering – with all the varieties that we have evaluated so far this season, which was your favorite and why?
Well, Galaxy was pretty cool wasn’t it? Yeah! It was. I really liked it. It had that nice, sweet flavor to it. It melted in your mouth and it had that donut shape that was so different from the other peaches, flat and so easy to eat. Man, what more could you ask for? …Except another one! Yeah, that’s right!
I’d have to say Rubyprince. It had nice size and a beautiful red color. It also had a great blend of tangy acidity and sweetness that I associate with a typical southern peach – my favorite type! My girlfriend sure loved them too – so that’s gotta count for something, right?!
I guess I am a bit different from you guys. I like the smooth skin of a nectarine. My favorite so far has been Honeyblaze. It looked spectacular on the tree and even better in my hand! What I really liked about it was the fact that it was crunchy when fully ripe but really, really sweet. Can I have another?
Yeah, Mike, I love the nectarines too! My favorite was Snow Queen. It has that exquisite aroma, heavenly taste and juicy blend of sugar and acid. I just want to keep coming back for more and more! Can we go get some, Dad?
O.K. guys. I hear you. Those cultivars all have their strengths and they were pretty good. But, you know, if you were to design the “perfect” peach - something that the average person would just flip for. What would it be like?
It has to melt in your mouth! No, its’ got to be sweet and juicy! Guys, don’t forget about nice shape, good color, not too fuzzy, and it has that nice peachy smell and it gives a little to your squeeze, right Steve? Well, Yeah. And don’t forget! Its’ got to drip off your elbows! That’s right! That’s true!
Guys, I really think the melting in your mouth is really the most important part we need to look for. But, Andy, if its’ not sweet and juicy, its’ not a peach! If its too fuzzy, who wants to get all this fuzz on your lips and… It’s got to drip off your elbows!
Don’t tell the guys but out in this orchard I’ve got a “Top Secret” peach– one they’ve never seen or tasted and it is THE BEST!
I don’t think I’ve found my perfect peach. I mean, Honey Blaze was good but… Rubyprince too, but there was a little too much red in the flesh, the donut was good but, I was looking for something with more taste, you mean a yellow-fleshed peach? Southern, … very nice!
Whoa, Dad?! Hey, where did you get those? It’s Top Secret! Let’s take a look at these! Oh! Awesome shape and color! Delicious smell. Hey! It gives some to my squeeze! It melts in your mouth! Its’ sweet and juicy! Its’ dripping off my elbows!
I think I saw where you got those and I am going to get some! No you’re not, if I get there first! Hey, what about me! Guys, wait up!!
You know, finding that “perfect” peach is not really a top-secret mission. If you can find that local farm where you can go out and pick your own, or that roadside or farmer’s market where they’ve already been picked for you – you can find it and you can enjoy it! I want to encourage you – go out and get some of those peaches as soon as you can!
Finally, do you have a fond memory out in a peach orchard or eating peaches that you would like to share with other people? Well, we’d like to encourage you to leave a comment on this website so that all those folks who love peaches can read and reminisce and think about what it means to be a peach lover! And we hope that you will stay tuned and that you will come back and see our next episode.
For more information on peaches, and to view the results of our peach germplasm evaluation program, you can go to my Clemson peach website at www.clemson.edu/hort/peach. And to read my regular peach columns for the American Fruit Grower magazine, visit their website at www.growingproduce.com.
For more information on gardening, landscaping, insect and disease problems on your plants, visit the Home & Garden Information Center web site at www.clemson.edu/hgic.
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