Our gardens in many lights

mercredi 17 août 2016

The velvet of the peach, take two

Cet article en français. 

Follow-up from the article dating back to August, 2012.


Les fruits encore très verts.
Three years. It has taken three years of rest before my peach tree produced fruits anew. The wait was long, but boy ! Was it worth it! I had to make the concession of giving the tree commercial fertilizer to help fructification (I hate doing that, my permaculture leanings telling me that if I planted good plants in the approriate places, I wouldn't have to add that kind of amendement to my perfect soil). I was recommended tomato fertilizer, so I added some in the spring of 2015, the autumn of that same year and the spring of 2016. Now that we are in summer 2016, I can happily declare that I harvested 31 of the 44 fruit that my tree produced ! I lost 8 to 10 to squirrels - as they are my terrible bane, they came, tasted many fruits that weren't ripe, threw them to the ground and scampered. Another 2 to 3 fruits I left high up in the branches, unreachable by me and my ladder. I'm not going to break my neck for a peach - however, I must say they are almost worthy of it.

A couple of days before the harvest, witness the abondance.
 I don't protect my tree. I don't spray my tree. If I had many trees, maybe I would use these methods to protect the harvest from parasites that generally profit from a monoculture. But my garden as so many different plants species - some that are there to bring in predators of parasites - that with only one peach tree, these commercial techniques are unnecessary. Furthermore, the idea of spraying poison to get food is wrong in my mind, especially for a tiny garden.

But it means I do have to accept the occasionnal fruit with sting marks, the occasionnal distorted fruit. I need to be able to deal with a fruit munched by squirrels that now has 20 ants crawling over the munched area (and I now that that, for some, is an unbearable idea, but I honestly don't mind those fruits after a good wash and peel of the affected parts. For my friends to whom I gave fruits, don't worry - those ants and squirrel munched fruits, I kept for myself, never for you!). Beyond all that, most of my harvest was marvelous with more than half of it being perfect fruits and with only one fruit badly distorted. 

Louise's sidenote : I think your tree did marveloustly well. Indeed, commercial farmers too get their lot of bad fruits. However, they can't sell those to grocery stores since most customers generally won't buy such fruits and vegetables.

On the left is my imperfect fruit and on the right is one that a squirrel munched on.
Sting marksfrom insects are visible on some of my fruits.
 I ended up with sweet, juicy fruits (the kind that you have to eat over the sink because of all the juice), a flesh so perfect it detached itself from the pit with a simple twist and most of all fruits that have nothing to do with the sad, lumpy fruit we get at the grocery store. Why are they like that at the store anyway? There are a couple of very simple reasons.

First, they are harvested green, or at least underriped. If they were harvested at their peak, they would become pureed after their long trip to reach the grocery stores (sometimes they travel hundreds of kilometers to get there). Especially delicate fruits like peach that would turn to compote at the slightest rumble.

Second, The varieties of peach trees planted are chosen based on criterias that aren't what consumers would choos,e but criterias that make perfect sense for a producer. Instead of choosing a plant that produces the best taste or the juiciest fruits, a producer will be better off with a tree that produces fruits that can travel well or that can stay better looking longer. So the taste criteria - althought important - isn't at the top of the list when a producer select his trees. By the way, that whole reasoning is true for anything and everything: from those Florida strawberries to those Mexico blueberries. When you go to your local farmer's market however, we can expect taste - not transportability - will be more important. They don't have hundreds of kilometers to do to sell their produce, so they can buy trees that have the reputation of bearing better tasting fruits.


Third, the peach, just like the nectarine, the banana or the sweet potato, doesn't do well if refrigerated, according to Ken Allen, who explains it in his book Sweet potatoes for the home garden (page 32). To brush a quick portrait, peaches have a natural tendency to rippen quickly after the harvest, so they must be refrigerated to be able to reach the consumer. But the process of refrigeration affects the taste and the texture of the fruit and as soon as we bring the fruit back to room temperature, for example on the kitchen counter, the fruit tends to rot, regardeless of their previous apparent perfection.

Back to our peaches, I will thus not surprise you by claiming loud and clear that my peaches - regardless of the 3 year wait - have been such a wonderful success. They have no equal and we have enjoyed every last one!

Both harvests of peaches and golden raspberries coincide in my garden. I can tell you those last breakfasts have made me feel like royalty!

2 commentaires:

  1. What type of peaches did you plant?

    1. It's called Reliance. It can go down to zone 5 so I have to protect him somewhat from harsh winter winds with a high wood fence (I am in zone 5a and peach tree are kind of tender). I invite you to visit my previous article on the subject to have more information!