6 Tips Perfect Peach

Is there anything that can beat a high quality, sweet, juicy, flavorful, ripe peach? I think not. However how many of you struggle to find that perfect peach? Have you had that experience where the peach looks great but when you brought it home you were disappointed? I have six tips for you that should help you avoid peach disappointment.


1. Know the season

It all starts with understanding how peach season works. I have written about peach season before, so make sure to check that post out. To summarize it – domestic peach season begins here in the U.S. in early to mid May. It is starting to become earlier with Florida peaches now hitting the market place earlier than the California and Georgia crop. Typically peaches then remain in the stores until September or at the most early October. Keep this in mind, the very earliest peaches typically aren’t the most flavorful just the earliest available. End of season peaches can be left in cold storage too long and be rubbery and off tasting. If it’s the beginning or end the season don’t make a big financial commitment if you want peaches, buy a couple to prevent mass disappointment or if you can get a sample before you buy.

Bellaire Peaches


2. Buy Local

If you can buy local by all means do it. Your farmer’s market is your best source. Those peaches are not grown to be shipped across the country, so they may remain on the tree longer before picked. Establish a relationship with your local farmers, so you know when their best tasting peaches are available. Make sure to ask exactly what variety they are growing so if you like it, you can ask for it again.


3. Find Varieties If You Can

Lots of people don’t release their are hundreds of varieties of peaches. It’s not just one type of yellow peach or one type of white peach. Orchards tend to grow many different varieties that ripe at different points. Peach trees are harvested in a 7-10 day window. If you only plant one variety then they will all have to be picked at once. Instead you plant varieties that will ripen over a couple months, so there is a continual supply. This is also why you can go to the store and buy some amazing peaches and go back a week later and buy more, only to find that you don’t like them as well. They were probably a different variety.

What is the Difference Between Peach Varieties

Peach varieties do not differ as much as apple varieties do, but there are differences you can tell if you become a peach connoisseur like me. The biggest difference is in the sweet/tart ratio. Flavor also differs. Some have that old fashion peach flavor, I have some that taste just like peach pie (see the Peach Pie donut peach from Family Tree Farms) or that they have been drizzled with maple syrup. I have had white peaches taste so sweet you think you are eating candy. If you taste several varieties of peaches side by side I am confident you will be able to taste the difference. My wife and I love getting a couple different varieties at once and doing a little taste testing as an after dinner snack.

Spring-Flame-Peaches(Text)

Finding the Variety

Finding out what variety of peach you are eating can be difficult. Generally grocery store only market a peach as being white or yellow flesh. I wish stores shared took the time to share that information as I think when people find a great variety and see that name again they would buy a ton, and I don’t think it will hinder sales to people who don’t care what they are getting just because the sign says “Spring Flame peaches”. Almost all peaches arrive to the store with the information on the side of the box telling you what variety it is. If you store displays peaches in the box they come in, then you can read the side of the box. You can also try asking one of the employees, although most probably don’t even bothering looking at that information. If you are buying from a farmer’s market then should by all means know exactly what variety they are selling you even if they don’t put out a sign saying what it is.


4. Check stickers

If you can’t find out varieties at your store there is an another thing you can do to find great peaches – find great growers. Learn to be a sticker reader. The sticker tells you who grew that peach. What I would do is get a piece of paper, place it on the fridge. Make two headings – like and didn’t like. Whenever you buy a peach, take the sticker off and place it on the paper under whatever heading is appropriate. That way you can learn to spot them in the store in the future. A few growers that I do recommend are :

Strawberry Heirloom Peaches

Strawberry Heirloom Peaches

Kingsburg Orchards | Check out their website

They harvest over 200 varieties of fruit in Kingsburg, California (which is in central California, south of Fresno). They are known for their development of many different kinds of pluots and apriums, including their dinosaur brand and velvet apricot series. You can find their peaches under their Flavor Farmer brand and their Flying Saucer brand of donut peaches. You can find a calendar of where their various peaches ripen on their website. One of their special varieties of peach is their Strawberry Heirloom peach. Here in Michigan, I have found their fruit at Meijer, Whole Foods Market, and Randazzo stores.

Peach Pie Donut Peaches

Family Tree Farms | Check out their website

Family Tree Farms really is a family affair. Seven generations and counting of farmers. It shows in the consistent quality of their fruit. I am particularly a fan of their Peach Pie Donut Peaches, which really do remind me of a fresh peach pie. Check out their availability chart.

GaLa Peaches

GaLa Peaches

Pearson Farm | Check out their website

Straight out of Fort Valley, Georgia, Pearson Farm offers amazing peaches. Look for their logo on peaches labeled as southern peaches at your grocery store. A couple years ago I received a box of their GaLa peaches right to my doorstep.


5. Avoiding green

Color is only important in one regard to peaches and it’s not the color, red. Red means nothing but how much sunlight a peach got. People seem to believe this which is why a lot of peaches today are almost all red, particularly the varieties from California. What I really care about when looking at the color of a peach is do I see any green. I want the peach to picked after the green has turned to yellow, even if still hard. Peaches are going to be picked hard, otherwise they could never be shipped anywhere. The key is to buy them from sources that allow them to mature enough on the tree for all the green to be gone. That way the peach has had enough time to develop full flavor.


6. Invest in paper bags

The final step to the perfect peach is how you store it when you get home. First if it came home in a plastic bag, remove it immediately. Plastic bags will draw moisture right to the skin of the peach and this could cause it to mold or rot. What you need to do is put the peaches until a paper bag until they are soft enough to eat. They should give to very gentle pressure. Never put the peaches into the fridge before they are soft enough. Once in the fridge I would say enjoy them within 3 days, 5 days tops. They will eventually start to shrivel up and the taste will be off.

If you follow these steps, your success of having a perfect peach will dramatically increase!

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When are Peaches Freestone

Cling stone versus freestone – the great peach debate. Which is better? In my experience working in produce I can tell you that most people clamor for the freestone peach. They are just easier to slice up as you can pop the pit right out. That is especially desired when someone is making a pie or jam and has to cut up a lot of peaches. I know a farm that doesn’t grow anything that isn’t a free stone peach. It is the reason why here in Michigan, the Red Haven peach is so popular, partly because it’s the first genuine freestone peach to ripen each year.

So now the question remains how do you know if you are getting a freestone peach vs. a cling stone peach? Unfortunately looks can’t help you. Both types look the same whether free or cling. So besides just cutting one open, the next best bet is to look at the calendar. Since peach varieties ripen from cling stone varieties to freestone as we move through the calendar, you can get a sense of when you can buy freestone peaches. Rest assure that the earliest peaches to the market and grocery store are going to be cling stone. To get a better understanding of when peach season begins around the country, check out my post on When Does Peach Season Begin (and End)?. For a handy reference, I am providing you with a calendar below of when freestone varieties are ready from select states. So if you are the store check to see where the peach is from and then check your calendar and you can get an idea of whether or not those peaches are freestone. These are only approximate dates, it depends on the year and the area of the state. I will add more information as I gather it. The earliest you will find a freestone peach in the store is mid June.

State Freestone Start Date
Michigan early August
Georgia mid June
South Carolina late June
Texas mid June
California mid June
Idaho mid to late August

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This article was written exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family-owned business dedicated to growing Georgia Peaches and Georgia Pecans.

The peach is one of the quintessential summer fruits and its arrival is marked by eager anticipation every year. Throughout the summer months, the peach can be found in a variety of recipes, from peach cobbler to peach salad, its sweet flavor and versatility is no doubt responsible for its continuing popularity. While the fruit’s delicious taste is well known, there are many interesting facts that you may not know. In the interest of expanding your peach knowledge, here are ten little known facts about the peach:

1. The peach originated in China and belongs to the rose family.
2. The peach’s scientific name is Prunus persica
3. There are two main varieties of peaches: clingstone and freestone. In clingstone peaches, the flesh of the peach sticks to the pit while it is easily separated in freestone varieties.
4. Peaches can be either yellow or white. Typically, the white peach is sweeter and less acidic than its yellow relative.
5. Peaches were once known as Persian apples
6. China and Italy are the two largest peach growers in the world.
7. Peaches are nutritious as they contain 3 grams of fiber and a healthy amount of vitamins A and C.
8. Peach season runs from June to August
9. The world’s biggest peach cobbler is made in Georgia, it measures 11 feet by 5 feet
10. When ripe, the peach should be slightly soft to the touch and have an even coloring.

With a history dating back thousands of years, there is more to peaches than just their delicious taste. As peach farmers, we take pride in the history and trivial facts about the fruit we cultivate. So, next time you bite into a fresh, juicy peach or dip your spoon into a mouthwatering cobbler, we hope you will share one or two of these facts with your friends. Who knows, they just might be impressed!

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Recently I was checking out the table of one of my favorite vendors at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market. I have bought several varieties of heirloom apples from her. But on this day she had a peach variety that I have heard about, but never had the chance to try. She recently planted some Elberta peach trees. This was the first year they were purposing fruit, so the peaches themselves were a bit on the small side.

Elberta peaches are among the most popular in the United States. They have a beautiful color, are freestone, hardy, disease resistant, and the trees grow quickly. So if they are so popular how come I have never seen them before. I think it is where Elbertas are popular elsehwere, in Michigan, Red Haven reigns as the most popular peach variety, shutting out the Elberta.

The Elberta peach has been around since the 1870s! It was developed by Samuel H. Rumph. The peach was named after his wife. It may have been the first peach to be shipped a great distance (from Georgia to New York). Samuel discovered the peach held up well when shipped. This peach is what really made Georgia into a peach state. It also had a hand in establishing the commercial fruit industry in the United States. So you have Samuel to thank for any fruit that you buy that is from outside your region.

My Experience with this Peach (Rating Scale 1-10)
Acidity: 8
Peach Flavor: 8
Sweetness: 5
Juiciness: 8

Overall Feeling: This peach has a wonderful flavor. I also found it to be quite juicy and on the acidic side. These peaches would be great canned or uses in a pie or any other baking application. There is a reason why this peach has been around for well over 100 years.

Where is the best place to buy a good peach? Click here to read my article on shopping for peaches.

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“This article was authored exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family farm producing the best Georgia peaches that are shipped directly from our orchard to your front door.”

One of the biggest changes to the peach industry over the last few years resolves around a singular issue: labor. Labor is a large driving force in the cost to manage a peach farm. While many peach farmers do hire many immigrant workers, a local labor force is necessary.

Many farmers work with a government program (H2A Worker Program) to have legal workers. This labor force typically offers a viable option for farmers to stay fiscally minded. A description of the Worker Program from the Department of Labor’s website:

“The work to be performed must be “of a temporary (or seasonal) nature,” meaning employment that is performed at certain seasons of the year, usually in relation to the production and/or harvesting of a crop, or for a limited time period of less than one year when an employer can show that the need for the foreign workers(s) is truly temporary.”

There is also an increasingly difficult task that must be tackled by peach famers: food safety. The most dedicated farmers work diligently to ensure that peaches are safe for the consumer. Farmers are also required to be able to trace peach shipments, in the rare case that something should be found amiss in a batch of peaches produced.

Finally, there are numerous governmental issues that affect how peach farmers do things on their farms. While many are not officially “organic farms”, most try to limit sprays of pesticides and employ an Integrated Pest Management system.

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“This article was authored exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family farm producing the best Georgia peaches that are shipped directly from our orchard to your front door.”

Peach trees are like any other produce: they take time, energy and effort to make a viable crop.

Most people will tell you that peach trees are beautiful when in bloom and their visual draw is as much of an appeal as their juicy product. Peach trees do not require much effort to “look good”, but take quite a bit of care to fill your peach basket with ripe fruit each summer.

While peach trees have been in existence for thousands of years, a number of varieties exist today. Most peach trees can produce fruit by themselves, not requiring another tree for pollination purposes.

The number of branches on a peach tree determines how much fruit it will produce. Trees typically reach three feet in height the first year, assuming they are exposed to plentiful sunlight and clean air. When the weather warms, peaches begin to thrive; however, a frost or freeze during the blooming period can doom a tree.

Peach trees need an adequate water supply, but can’t survive in flood conditions and need good draining soil to grow properly. When all the elements are right, the tree can flourish and grow.

Most peach trees will begin to bear viable fruit in 3 years. However, it must be mentioned that to get to this point requires a great deal of attention. Pruning, access to fertile soil, fertilizer and disease management all play a part in raising healthy trees. When everything goes right, peach trees will produce fruit and appetites will be successfully fulfilled.

What many people don’t realize is that peach trees live a fairly short period of time – an average of 15-20 years.

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“This article was authored exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family farm producing the best Georgia peaches that are shipped directly from our orchard to your front door.”

Many people are aware that there are a variety of peaches available for them to purchase. Some can even tell you that clingstones are good for canning. This variety of peach has a firm texture which makes them ideal for preserving and storing for later consumption.

Clingstones are known for a clear juice, bright color and ability to maintain shape when stored. Their pits are often described as being like wood and have a unique way of clinging to the peach flesh that surrounds them.

These peaches become available during the first part of the harvest season, which typically begins in May each year. Because of their viability in jelly, desserts and other canned applications they are rarely found at your local market.

These soft peaches have a wonderfully sweet taste. These early peaches are clingstones because of their genetic traits, part of their breeding from the early days when the variety was created.

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“This article was authored exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family farm producing the best Georgia peaches that are shipped directly from our orchard to your front door.”

While peaches can be grown in many climates (from North Florida to Michigan), warm weather, plenty of water and good soil are the ideal climate for growing quality peaches. Georgia is the perfect mix of these weather factors, thus allowing the ability to grow more than 30 different varieties of peaches.

As any peach farmer can tell you, producing sweet peaches is a delicate task. All of the stars must align, weather must be to the crop’s liking and a little luck included.

Georgia’s soil is a beneficial resource to have available when trying to grow peaches, but is only half of the battle; weather conditions have the most direct impact on growing healthy peaches. The better tasting and bigger sized peaches require a certain number of “chill” hours – temps under 45 F during the winter months. The number of chill hours required varies according to variety of peach – some need as few as 400 hours and others as many as 800-900.

Once the chill requirement has been met then the fruit tree is getting ready to come into bloom. Peach trees bloom when they are exposed to a certain amount of warmth, generally associated with the onset of summer. When there is a mild spring, and winter turns into summer overnight, peach crops can be devastated.

Additionally, water helps to nurture each peach as it comes to maturity. More water, in the form of rain or crop irrigation, will typically lead to larger peach. Hot temperatures and dry conditions will produce smaller peaches, but the sugars contained in them will be more concentrated, making a sweeter peach.

When temperatures begin to warm in the spring time, peach trees will bloom. The trees get used to the sunshine and water from spring showers. If a cold front moves in and causes a freeze, after the peach trees have started to bloom, it can severely harm the trees and cause the crop to be lost.

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“This article was authored exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family farm producing the best Georgia peaches that are shipped directly from our orchard to your front door.”

Many people are unfamiliar with the fact that a peach is actually a member of the rose family. Their origination is from China about the time they learned to make bronze. Even the Greeks and Romans talk about the variety of peaches that they enjoyed.

While peaches were originally introduced in the United States in what is now California, they are best known as a leading export of Georgia during the summer months. There are more than three dozen different varieties of peaches produced by Georgia peach farmers each year. The peach season in Georgia typically begins during May and runs through the middle of August. During that time 65,000 tons of peaches are produced. That is enough peaches to fill 1,625 fully-loaded tractor trailers!

During the period of reconstruction in the South, beginning in 1865, peaches were a key crop for Southern farmers. This agricultural endeavor helped many farms thrive and further fuel the taste buds of many people outside the direct growing region.

During the mid-nineteenth century, commercialization of Georgia peaches really began. Early peach farming pioneers began shipping peaches in champagne baskets, as opposed to ground charcoal. This served as a preservative and allowed the fresh peaches to be shipped further and further away from Georgia.

As peach farming became a viable entity in Georgia, farmers began to expand their land holdings to grow more peaches. Peach production reached its peak in 1928, when Georgia farmers harvested 360,000 pounds of peaches. These peaches were taken to Savannah, a leading East Coast port town, where they boarded a steam ship headed for New York.

At the turn of the century, before World War I, a new variety of peaches were cultivated. The peaches that were produced on the Rumph Family Farm had a clear seed, yellow flesh and blush on its cheeks. The peaches would become known as the Elberta peach. These peaches could even be shipped without being packed in ice, requiring fewer crates and less overall shipping expense. This variety of peach remained the leading peach export until the middle of the nineteenth century. This peach, despite its previous success, is no longer in commercial production.

As peach production flourished, more and more shipping methods were investigated. People tried to find viable ways to utilize rail transportation to ship peaches across the country without them spoiling or becoming damaged.

The rest is history, as they would say. Peach production has become a major part of the Georgia economy. The peach industry has declined, recently, in the state of Georgia due to the high cost of labor and expense of production. However, the climate and soil in middle Georgia produces a top quality fruit. There is enough cold weather in the winter most years to have a good fruit set and a warm enough spring for fruit development.

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I am not a big fan of summer. The hot and humid weather can be unbearable at times. But at least we get a lot of good produce to enjoy during the summer, especially the peaches. Last year I got to review a ton of different varieties of peaches. Peach season here in Michigan begins near the end of July. But thanks to the wonderful people from Pearson Farm in Fort Valley, Georgia, I got to start my peach reviews early this year. I received a shipment of their GaLa peaches last week. No I am not mistaking apples for peaches. While Gala is a popular apple variety, there is also a GaLa peach (notice the capital “L”). This peach variety was a joint release from the USDA-ARS in Bryon, Georgia (Ga) the Louisiana Ag Experiment Station (La).

The GaLa peach is considered a semi-freestone peach. The softness of the peach determines how easy the pit comes out. The first couple peaches I ate, it was a little bit of work to get the stone out and usually a bit of flesh came with it, but as the peaches softened the stone came out without too much trouble and didn’t take any flesh with it. The semi-freestone peaches mark the transition from clingstone to freestone. GaLa peaches are ready somewhere around June 4th. They are ready to harvest on average 5-6 days before the popular Red Haven peach.

The GaLa peach is large in size. The Georgia ones this year ended up being smaller than normal due to less rainfall. This variety also tends to oxidize at a slower rate, so they won’t turn brown that fast after being sliced.

My Experience with this Peach (Rating Scale 1-10)
Acidity: 8
Peach Flavor: 8
Sweetness: 7
Juiciness: 6

Overall Feeling: GaLa peaches have a great peach flavor as well as being quite acidic, but not without some sweetness. I think these peaches would work really well in a peach pie. They are juicy enough, but not overly. Therefore you won’t end up with too much juice in your pie. They are acidic enough to create a balanced dessert.

Care to have some fresh Georgia peaches shipped directly to your home? Visit Pearson Farm’s website to make your order. They also sell peach products like salsa and preserves. If you are a fan of pecans, make sure to include some in your order.

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