Dr Desmond Layne, associate professor of pomology, tree fruit specialist, and state program team leader for horticulture at Clemson University

Stone Fruit

Everything About Peaches

Desmond R. Layne

Beginning in 2010, I joined a team of scientists on a new federally funded four-year project through the USDA-SCRI (Specialty Crop Research Initiative) program.  The title of the grant is “Tree Fruit GDR:  Translating Genomics into Advances in Horticulture.”  Part of the project involves evaluation of our extensive peach germplasm collection, further development of our online peach evaluation database, and the creation of a new peach website and new educational videos.

With the help of an excellent team of folks at Clemson (noted at the end), we have made good progress on these projects.  These new, online resources will be of help to you, your business, and perhaps your customers, too.  Most important, we have attempted to create a new one-stop-shop for peach information.  Our new website, “Everything About Peaches,” is live.  It is easy to find by directly typing the URL into your Web browser:  www.clemson.edu/peach.

Navigating The Site
The website has three main sections, each tailored for a different audience:  the commercial grower; the backyard grower; and the general consumer.  In the “Commercial Grower” section, there is access to all of my previous columns for American/Western Fruit Grower (going back to 2005), links to our regional grower handbook and IPM guide, links to our peach variety evaluation database, USDA market reports, etc.  The peach variety evaluation database has 11 years of data of more than 350 cultivars and selections evaluated at four different locations in South Carolina.  It also includes digital photos and cultivar descriptions.

The “Backyard Grower” section provides seven different “fact sheets” that have been written on topics ranging from pest and disease control, cultural practices, pruning, etc.  In the “Consumer’s Corner” section, we have links to farmers markets and pick-our-own farms (in South Carolina), recipes, fact sheets on using and storing peaches, and links to some educational videos.
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Screen capture of home page for new “Everything About Peaches” website at Clemson University: www.clemson.edu/peach.


On the home page of the website, the screen will refresh automatically every few seconds to show you the six different educational videos we created this summer.  The titles of the videos are:  1) How to pick the best peach; 2) How to determine peach ripeness; 3) Different kinds of peaches; 4) Clemson peach evaluation program; 5) The perfect peach; and 6) South Carolina peach history and field day.

To watch one of the videos, just click on it and make sure your speakers are turned on. For the hearing-impaired there is a full transcript that can be read on the screen.

Also on the homepage is a tab called “FAQ,” meaning “Frequently Asked Questions.” Currently there are 11 questions and we will add to this over time.  The site also has a “Search” feature where you can type in keywords that might appear in the videos, articles I have written, etc. so that you can find several complimentary resources of interest.  For example, you could type in the word “irrigation” and five different choices come up—from past columns to videos, etc.

Watch And Learn
For me, the part of this project that was the most enjoyable was developing the educational videos—which are also posted on YouTube.  At press time, there have been more than 5,000 views worldwide.  Since uploading the videos to the Web, I have been contacted by individuals in several foreign countries and around the U.S. who have told me that the videos were very informative and helpful to them.  My creative Web design team also developed some neat “Wallpaper Downloads” that are available for free.  You can download the image files and use one for the desktop that is visible on your monitor.  Currently, there are 10 to choose from.

Some commercial growers and nurseries are linking to our site and encouraging their customers to access this information.  You are welcome to do this also.  If you have found the site to be helpful, please drop me an e-mail message to tell me how.  If you have ideas about additional information we could develop and add to the site, I welcome your input.

I would especially like to thank our Web team (E. Massey, D. Bowen, and P. Togel) for helping get the website up and running in short order.  They also helped in uploading videos to YouTube, close captioning the transcripts, creating wallpaper, etc.  I would also like to thank my peach germplasm evaluation crew.  These men also acted in the videos and assisted in preparation of the final video products, including all the videography, sound, etc. (Andy Rollins—Clemson Extension, and my three sons, Stephen, Michael, and Daniel Layne!)

Download the printable PDF of this article (82 KB)

This column by Dr. Desmond R. Layne, “Everything About Peaches” appeared in the September 2010 issue of The American Fruit Grower magazine on page 45.

Desmond R. Layne, Ph.D., is an associate professor of pomology, tree fruit specialist, and state program team leader for horticulture at Clemson University. He is also past president of the American Pomological Society.

For more information, go to www.clemson.edu/peach.