To a lot of people a peach is just a peach. They buy them at the store, hopefully not out of a can or plastic container. Not as much thought goes into it as say picking an apple that is sold in the store by which variety it is. Some people doesn't even realize their are varieties of peaches. A few slightly more advanced people in that crowd may think of peaches by region (California and Georgia being the two top on people's minds). Or they may have had a white peach, or even a donut peach. However what most grocery stores don't teach us, is that peaches come in many varieties. Head to the farmers market during peach season, and you are likely to see someone listening their peaches by name of the variety. The peach that has gotten the most buzz of any other peach is certainly the Red Haven. It is extremely popular at farmers market, farm stands, and peach orchards. It is the only peach I know of that people look for by name (except for me but I am a HUGE peach nerd). What I want to do it to help direct people in their search for the Red Haven.
A Short Window
We may see peaches in the grocery stores from many months. That is because growers have many different varieties of peaches that ripen at all different times, so that they have a continual supply. Each variety is only available for a very short period of time. If you ever have gone to the store, got some peaches, loved them, and came by the next week looking for more, but ended up disappointed, it's likely that you bought 2 different varieties. A 2 week window is about all your going to have. So if you want to score some Red Havens, you to know when to be looking.
Now you may say that you have seen these peaches for a lot longer than 2 weeks in the past. I know for a fact that orchards and farm stands "extend the harvest" of Red Haven peaches by calling other peach varieties that aren't Red Havens, Red Havens. To most people can't distinguish peach varieties from each other, especially if they are anything remotely close in appearance. An excellent article on Growing Produce discusses that subject.
A Short History of the Red Haven
Where did this Red Haven peach come from? The Red Haven peach orginated in South Haven, Michigan in 1930. There is actually a historical marker in South Haven that speaks of the history of the peach. Here is what it reads on the actual historical marker:
The Haven peach varieties were developed here by Michigan State University's South Haven Experiment Station, under the direction of Professor Stanley Johnston. From 1924 to 1963, eight yellow-fleshed freestone varieties were selected from more than twenty-one thousand cross-bred seedlings. They were named Halehaven, Kalhaven, Redhaven, Fairhaven, Sunhaven, Richhaven, Glohaven and Cresthaven. Redhaven was the first red-skinned commercial peach variety. It is now the most widely planted freestone peach variety in the world. Haven peaches have provided an orderly supply of high quality peaches extending over a seven-week period. Prior to the development of Haven peaches, harvests had been restricted to a three-week period.
When Do Red Haven Peaches Ripen In
I researched many different Red Haven peach growers in different states - finding out when their crop was going to be in season. Now depending on the weather, the season can change. For example in 2012 Red Havens in Berrien County, Michigan were ready to go on July 23rd (that was a really hot year). In 2013 the date was August 2nd. So any dates are a general guideline. Always begin peaking right before they should start in your area.
If your region is not on this list (I plan to add more in time), leave a comment below with your email and I will find out for you 🙂
|Southwest Michigan||August 3rd|
|Northwest Michigan||August 9th|
|Western Montana||August 20th|
|Northern Ohio||August 3rd|
|Central Ohio||late July|
|Southern Illinois||mid July|
|Eastern Nebraska||late July|
|Northern Utah||early August|
|Central Washington||August 4th|
|Northwest Oregon||end of July|
Latest to Ripen
The very latest ripening Red Havens I have come across are in Montana. Forbidden Fruit Orchards in Paradise, Montana harvested their Red Haven peaches around the 20th of August. Their warm days and cool nights are a great recipe for high quality peaches. A great excuse to enjoy the beauty and big skies of Montana!
Places to Pick
Here is a list of some places you can pick your very own Red Haven peaches.