White Delight: New peach varieties released for warmer climates

COLLEGE STATION – Southerners who have been anxiously awaiting a peach tree that will produce in warmer climates – just chill.

peach blossom

Peach tree blossoms in the research plots of Dr. David Byrne in College Station, Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips)

Four new varieties being released for production in nurseries this year will soon 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 said. “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 are grown in California, he said. White fleshed 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 are now 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 said.

Three of the new varieties are clingstone while one is semi-freestone, and they ripen consecutively from late-May through mid-July, Byrne noted.

           The seed for these new crosses were originally planted in 1998 and had shown consistent production in three locations – Fairfield and College Station, Texas, and Fresno, Calif. – since 2006. Fruit from the research trees scored high in taste tests, Byrne said.

Nurseries can obtain budwood under a license agreement with AgriLife Research.

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