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New Peach Looks Funny, Tastes Great

By Marcia Wood
April 5, 2004

A fun-to-eat peach called "Galaxy" has a great taste and an amusing, flat shape. It looks something like a bagel, and tastes sweet and juicy.

Offered to nurseries and researchers for the first time last year by Agricultural Research Service tree fruit breeders in California, Galaxy is what fruit fanciers will recognize as a "peento" peach, short for the original Chinese "Pan Tao."

Galaxy has a delightful, delicate aroma; light-cream skin accented with an attractive red blush; and pleasantly firm-textured white flesh. It ripens at the same time of year--the third to fourth week of June--as a popular peento peach called Saturn. But Galaxy is bigger.

Geneticist David W. Ramming and colleagues at the ARS Postharvest Quality and Genetics Research Unit in Parlier developed Galaxy in 10 years of fruit breeding and testing. The new peach's lineage includes a nectarine developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers and a peento peach from Rutgers University.

In 1994, Ramming hybridized, or crossed, the parent peaches that would yield Galaxy. The following year, he singled out Galaxy for further study in his research orchards at the ARS San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier and those of the neighboring Kearney Agricultural Center.

So far, Ramming's team has provided more than 33,000 buds for staffers at tree fruit nurseries to graft to familiar rootstocks. Galaxy peaches may begin showing up in supermarkets in 2006.

Like most peaches, Galaxy is self-pollinating, so it doesn't require proximity to other peach trees--a boon for backyard gardeners who don't have room for more than one peach tree. And, although not yet tested outside of California, Galaxy might do well in southern peach-growing states such as Georgia and South Carolina

Read more about the research in the April 2004 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.