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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: FRESH MARKET CUTIVAR DEVELOPMENT

Authors
item Okie, William
item Bacon, T - SUNWORLD INTN'L, CA
item Bassi, D - UNIV. OF MILAN, ITALY

Submitted to: The Peach: Botany, Production and Uses
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 8, 2006
Publication Date: September 29, 2008
Citation: Okie, W.R., Bacon, T., Bassi, D. 2008. Fresh market cultivar development. In: Layne, D.R., Bassi, D., editors. The Peach Botany, Production and Uses. Oxfordshire:CABI. p. 615.

Interpretive Summary: Successful peach and nectarine production depends on suitable cultivars, regardless of where the industry is located. Peaches have a short shelf life compared to many crops and each cultivar has a short production season. As a result, multiple cultivars are needed to provide fresh fruit from April to September (October to March in the southern hemisphere) across many regions and climates. In general, peaches and nectarines for fresh-market consumption must suit the intended market. In most cases preferred fruit are large, mostly red with yellow ground color and with short pubescence or glabrous (nectarine), firm enough to be transported (perhaps for several weeks for exporting industries), regularly shaped, and of good eating quality (taste and texture). Flesh color in the USA has traditionally been yellow, but white is acceptable or preferred in some markets. Most fresh-market peaches are freestone, except for the early season cultivars. In recent years the market has diversified in terms of flesh color (yellow or white), acidity (normal or low), texture (melting, non-melting or crisp) and shape (round or donut).

Technical Abstract: Fresh market peach and nectarine breeding is discussed from a historical perspective, starting with selection of superior seedlings by farmers. Most of the important breeding programs worldwide are discussed. In general, peaches and nectarines for fresh-market consumption must suit the intended market. In most cases preferred fruit are large (6-8 cm diameter), mostly red with yellow ground color and with short pubescence or glabrous (nectarine), firm enough to be transported (perhaps for several weeks for exporting industries), regularly shaped, and of good eating quality (taste and texture). Flesh color in the USA has traditionally been yellow, but white is acceptable or preferred in some markets. Most fresh-market peaches are freestone, except for the early season cultivars. Important exceptions are those sold in countries preferring non-melting or canning clingstones, such as Mexico and other countries with Spanish influence. Many of the later season nectarines are also clingstone, apparently because of higher quality compared to freestones in that season. In recent years the market has diversified in terms of flesh color (yellow or white), acidity (normal or low), texture (melting, non-melting or crisp) and shape (round or donut). Changes are also coming in tree architecture to provide cultivars ranging from dwarf through standard to pillar and weeping, although commercial adoption of non-standard trees remains to be seen. Most of the breeding for low-chill regions, as well as that for canning peaches, is discussed in other chapters.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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