Desert Delight Nectarine Harvest, 2012

Last year, just after my Desert Delight tree bloomed in January, the frost and wind came and bit away all the baby fruit. None of my other trees had bloomed yet, so they were all safe and sound and budded away, but the brazen Desert Delight lost every single young fruit that it had. This year, the tree bloomed and set fruit, and though we have received a near-weekly rain, we escaped any late frost. Those weekly rains that have served my other trees so well knocked the early-ripening Desert Delight on their asses. The rain, much more than what a tree named "Desert Delight" expected, has caused about half the fruits to split and mold across their bellies. These fruit ripen erratically and have sweet juicy spots, moldy gooey spots, and hard sour spots. What they don't have is flavorless spots.

This splitting has happened to about half the two dozen or so fruit. The other half are lovely, bright red, yellow-fleshed little clingstone numbers that are both sweet and super tangy. My brother always says that nectarines, though the same species as peaches, always seem to have an amped up peach flavor, a flavor that goes beyond peach, and these nectarines exemplify that for sure.

I ate the last of these today on a weeding break in the hot afternoon. The skin broke against my teeth and released that winey juice, enough to drip down my chin. I licked up dust and sweat and nectarine juice.

If the good fruits of this year's harvest demonstrate the typical fruit of this cultivar, I'm happy. This is a good nectarine, not the best, but good. It's May. I'll take some good nectarines in May to hint at the excellent nectarines that will come later this summer.

Tree details:
  • Desert Delight, a Zaiger introduction patented in 1993, has been in the ground at this property since early 2010.
  • It is on Citation rootstock.
  • It is heavily mulched, and, during the warm months, watered twice a week on a drip system.
  • This is its first crop.


I have a peach tree I planted for my mother 15 years ago. What the squirrels leave me, are tiny stone fruit the size of prunes. It's also on a hillside. And I admit, not watered that often. I dream of fruit trees such as yours. The best I can get is vegetables that aren't to deep rooted. My soil can be hateful to all things not properly armed.
the good soup said…
How wonderful to have nectarines and summer! I had nectarines and summer (not in my garden, sadly), and I made enormous amounts of nectarine jam. In jam, nectarines stand out even more strongly against their fuzzy counterparts. I never really believe people when they say fuzz is the only thing that separates the two fruit. To me, they're like naughty and nice.
Lovely to read you again, Christina, I've been way too busy for my own reading pleasure... xx
Christina said…
PA: I saw that photo of your garden on FB and it looks gorgeous! I don't have the added challenge of a hillside, but my soil is mostly gravel, sand, and rocks, so I rely heavily on layers of horse manure and wood chip mulch.

TGS: Good to see you back! Yes, nectarines are something special. And, there are more to come from this little slice of land from other trees!

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