by Dr. Desmond R. Layne, Peach Specialist, Dept. of Environmental Horticulture, Clemson University, 2011
Hey, I'm Desmond Layne, Peach Specialist at Clemson University. Welcome to the Clemson Tiger Peach Network.
As you can see from today's issue of the New York Times, it's Thursday, July 28, 2011. You may be aware that there is a rivalry between Georgia and South Carolina about who's got the tastier peaches. You can read this article to make your own determination. But besides making it into the "Big Time", that is the New York Times, we're going to be talking about some big peaches here today at my variety test block at James Cooley's farm here in Chesnee.
For peach growers this time of the year, size really matters. On your left is a box of Sugar Giant. That's our "Peach Pick" for this week. Sugar Giant averages greater than 3 inches in diameter. Now that's a big peach! It only took sixteen to fill this box. By comparison, on your right is another peach cultivar. The average size there is about 2 inches in diameter or less. It took 50 peaches to fill that box. Guess which one is going to make more money this time of the year?
Sugar Giant has melting flesh. It's a freestone. It also has white flesh and it's a subacid type which means that the taste on your tongue is not tangy. It's mellow, very sweet, kind of like honey. It was developed by Zaiger Genetics in Modesto, California. It was patented in 1993. Because the patent is still effective, you have to buy trees from a licensed propagator.
In our Clemson University research trials over the last several years, the performance of Sugar Giant has been excellent. We typically harvest Sugar Giant in the last two weeks of July or the first week of August depending on where you are located in the state. As I have already told you, Sugar Giant is a big peach. It averages 3 inches in diameter or larger. This baby is a meal by itself!
It typically has a very nice red overcolor or blush and a nice uniform, round shape. When you cut through the skin into the flesh, you can see that it's got white flesh. There may be some occasional red pigmentation in the flesh and that's no problem! Those are anthocyanin pigments which are antioxidants and there's a health benefit there for you.
You know being a peach specialist and trying to stay on a diet - it's almost mutually exclusive! I've got to taste peaches all summer long. Well, let's see how this one tastes. Mmmm, now Sugar Giant is a treat! Sweet, juicy. It's got that mellow taste. It melts in your mouth. It tastes kind of like honey. It doesn't have that traditional tanginess that we associate with a Southern peach but boy is it good! Mmmmm!
I realize that most of you are probably sitting at a computer or watching this on your iPhone - probably enjoying some nice air conditioning! We're out here slaving in the peach orchard where it's almost 100 degrees but we do it because we love it and we want to give you the best information possible. So why don't you join us next week and you can see our next episode of "Peach Picks for South Carolina"? Yeah, we're just out here, you know, we're just slaving away!
To get my latest information on peaches, you can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PeachDoctor. For more educational videos and information about peaches, you can visit my "Everything About Peaches" website at www.clemson.edu/peach. And if you would like to read my columns for the American Fruit Grower magazine, you can 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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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.