Peach Makes Market Debut
November 14, 2003
Gulfprince, a new peach variety
that can tree-ripen for several extra days, thus becoming sweeter and juicier,
is now available to consumers.
The new variety, released to growers in 1999, was developed by the
Agricultural Research Service, the
University of Georgia and the
University of Florida. It was planted in
grower orchards in 2001.
Thomas Beckman, a horticulturist at the ARS
Fruit and Tree Nut Research
Laboratory in Byron, Ga., was part of the ARS-university team that
developed the new peach. Gulfprince possesses several qualities that make it
appealing to various market sectors.
The new peach is a "non-melting" variety, meaning it can remain on
the tree three to four days longer than a traditional "melting" peach
variety. Whether a peach is melting or non-melting comes down to a difference
in one gene that enables the fruit to stay firmer longer. The additional time
on the tree allows the fruit to accumulate more sugar, attain more juiciness
and become more fragrant.
Consumers will also like Gulfprince's size and color. More than 2-1/2 inches
in diameter, it is red with a deep-yellow skin color, an attractive combination
that consumers seem to prefer. The non-melting peach also improves handling
capacity because it's slow to soften and doesn't bruise easily.
Beckman and his colleagues continue to work on developing additional
varieties that ripen at different times, thus extending the peach season.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.