There are a number of factors to consider when selecting varieties
of peaches to grow. Some of the considerations are:
- Fruit characteristics such as taste, size, and tendency to brown.
- The Norman variety is an example of a low browning peach, which
makes it a favorite for canning. Also, it looks fresh longer
after it is cut up and placed n a fruit bowl. We have found that
the Rubired variety can be extremely sweet but the fruit size
can be small.
- Ripening date.
- We have slected varieties which will ripen over much of the
summer, from late June (Derby, Hamlet) to early September (Emery).
Midseason peaches make up the majority of our acreage (Red Haven,
Norman, Ellerbe) since these peaches are the most popular and public
interest in buying peaches seems to be highest in July.
- Cling vs. Freestone
- Varieties differ greatly in size, color, flavor, time of
ripening, disease resistance and other characteristics.
- Chilling Hours Requirements
- The chilling hours requirements controls the time of bloom
This is an important consideration - especially in frost prone
areas - since a few days delay in blooming can sometimes make the
difference in having a full crop and having heavy losses due to frost.
- For example, the Norman peach requires 850 chilling hours and
Contender requires 1,050 chilling hours. These varieties bloom
later than varieties that require 750 hours or less and are less
likely to be damaged by late spring frosts.
What is the Difference Between Clingstone and Freestone Peaches?
An important characteristic is how easily the pit can be pulled away
from the rest of the peach. If the flesh of the peach does not pull away
easily it may be necessary to cut the peach flesh away from the pit,
especially if the peach is not fully ripened. These peach varieties are
called cling peaches. Varieties that loosen readily and can be easily
pulled away from the peach flesh are called openstone.
Some varieties are in between and are semi-openstone.
While openstone varieties are generally considered more desirable, many cling peach varieties offer the advantages of:
- Earlier ripening date - Very important when you have waiting all winter for the taste of fresh peaches
- Some cling varieties are especially flavorful and as they ripen the pit begins to pull away more easily
- Cling peaches are generally considered most desirable for canning whole (spice peaches).
The Lawrence Family Orchard includes a number of varieties which ripen
over a long season from late June to early September.