Hey, I'm Desmond Layne, Peach Specialist at Clemson University. Welcome to the Clemson Tiger Peach Network.
Today is June 23, 2011 and we're in the second season of "Everything About Peaches". This summer's series is called "Peach Picks for South Carolina". Every week throughout the entire growing season we are going to be featuring those cultivars that perform the very best in "The Tastier Peach" state.
We are here at my variety test block at James Cooley's Farm in Chesnee, SC. Last time we featured a white-fleshed nectarine called Snow Queen. This time, we are featuring a yellow-fleshed nectarine called Honey Blaze! Honey Blaze was developed by Zaiger Genetics in Modesto, California. It was patented in 1998 and the patent is still valid which means you can only buy it through licensed nurseries and there will be a royalty fee associated with the cost of those trees.
Honey Blaze is a yellow, subacid nectarine. Although it's very sweet, it doesn't have the typical "tanginess" that we associate with a Southern peach. Yellow-fleshed, subacid nectarines aren't all that common yet in the marketplace but they may be especially appealing to people of Asian or Hispanic descent who particularly like low-acid type fruits.
In our Clemson University research trials over the last 4 years, the performance of Honey Blaze has been very good. The only negative is that it seems to be a little bit more susceptible to brown rot than some of the peach cultivars that ripen at the same timeframe. However, it typically ripens between the middle of June and the end of June depending on where you are located in the state.
As a nectarine, you first notice that Honey Blaze has no fuzz. It has smooth skin. Honey Blaze typically has very good size averaging from 2 to 3 inches in diameter. It has a nice uniform, round shape and a very attractive red overcolor (or blush). When you cut through the skin into the flesh you can see that has beautiful yellow color. Honey Blaze fruits are typically firm and meaty. The flesh has a mild, sweet taste. When eaten at a firm ripe stage, they can be crunchy like an apple. Some consumers really like this.
Although Snow Queen was an excellent eating experience, let's see what Honey Blaze tastes like... You hear that crunch? Now look at the juice, you can see that its' juicy and hear that its crunchy. That distinguishes it from a lot of things that we've tried already this season and that's one of the unique attributes. Its' firm, juicy, extremely sweet and its' a delicious eating experience. That's what you're looking for!
Why don't you join us next week when we'll feature another "Peach Pick for South Carolina". You know, being a peach specialist is a rough job, but somebody's got to do it!
For more educational videos and information about peaches, you should 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 go to their website at www.growingproduce.com.