Mouth-Watering New Fruits
August 29, 1997
Flavorful new peaches and nectarines from California should please growers
and shoppers alike. The treefruits are the latest from the
Research Laboratory in Fresno, where scientists have produced 26 flavorful
new fruits in the past 25 years. The lab is part of
Agricultural Research Service.
The Fresno labs most recent varieties include Spring Baby, Spring Gem
and Autumn Red peaches, and Crimson Baby and September Free nectarines. Spring
Baby peaches are deliciously ripe by the first week of May. Spring Gems ripen
at the end of May. Cuttings of the new fruits are available to growers.
Consumers may begin seeing them at markets in about 5 years.
Embryo rescue techniques perfected by the Fresno scientists
enable them to produce fruits that ripen earlier in spring than before--a
welcome treat for winter-weary consumers. Embryos from early-season parents are
usually too small to survive on their own, so researchers rescue them from the
developing stone, or pit. In the laboratory, the embryos thrive on a gel-like
bed of nutrients until they grow into plants.
For a mid-August harvest, the researchers produced Autumn Red peach. Sweet
and juicy, Autumn Red meets the demand for fully blushed
peaches--yellow skin with an attractive, dark red tint.
Crimson Baby nectarines, ready to pick in late May, are large and
round--unaffected by size and shape problems that often ruin other early-season
nectarines. At the end of the season--about the end of August or first week of
September--growers can harvest pleasantly firm, top-quality September Free
nectarines. In orchard trials, trees bearing the red-blushed fruit were
consistently vigorous and productive.
The August issue of the agencys magazine Agricultural Research carries an
in-depth article on the new fruits. The story also is on the World Wide Web at:
Scientific contact: David W. Ramming, USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops
Research Laboratory, Fresno, Calif., phone (209) 453-3061, fax (209) 453-3088,