Southerners who have been anxiously awaiting a peach tree that will produce in warmer climates—just chill—your wait soon will be over.
Four new peach varieties are being released this year for production in nurseries and soon will be available for growers where cold temperatures—a necessity for peach trees—are less likely, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Research stone fruit breeder Dr. David Byrne.
"This is a first," Byrne says. "These are unique because there are few low-acid white peaches available to be grown in our adaptation zone."
Most white flesh peaches found in the produce section in grocery stores typically are grown in California, he says. White flesh peaches are preferred in China, Japan, Taiwan, and white fleshed peaches were initially planted in California to supply those markets.
According to the California Fruit Tree Agreement statistics, white fleshed peaches began to appear as a niche product in the U.S. market by 2000 and now are commonly found in grocery stores throughout the season.
"The four varieties—called White Delight series—are named for their excellent flavor and color of their flesh, which ranges from creamy white to as much as 80 percent striped red or orange-red," Byrne notes.
Three of the new peach varieties are clingstone, while one is semi-freestone, and they ripen consecutively from late-May through mid-July, Byrne reports.
The seed for these new peach crosses were originally planted in 1998 and had shown consistent production in three locations since 2006. Those three locations were at Fairfield and College Station, Texas, and also in Fresno, California.
In addition, Byrne says that the fruit from the research trees also scored high in taste tests.
Nurseries will be able to obtain a budwood for the four new peach varieties under at license agreement with Texas A&M AgriLife Research.