Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Eva's Pride Peach Harvest, 2012

Sometimes, a tree feels like a miracle. That is what Eva's Pride is to me. I thinned and thinned the tree this early spring, and it still bore so much fruit its lower branches sagged to the mulch below. Last year, this tree was half its current size and gave me many fruit for its small stature, but now, now I'm swimming in peaches.

If picked early, this peach is unremarkable. It's simply tangy and pretty. But if left to ripen on the tree until it falls off in my hands, Eva's Pride is a fantastic peach. The flesh is so juicy and tender, slicing is an impossibility, so to work with these peaches, I must have my hands over a bowl to collect the slurpy fruit and juices. The skin slides right off the red-mottled flesh without blanching. The flavor has that distinct peach zing that is missing from lots of more recently hybridized peaches: it is not a low-acid peach.

I couldn't tell you how many peaches I've collected from this tree already this year, and there are many more to go. I've eaten peaches with every meal (in salads, on cereal, alongside sandwiches), given some to neighbors, traded them for zucchini and eggs, and I've been preserving them, too.

My in-laws were in town last week; while here, my mother-in-law and I made a batch of soft-set Eva's Pride jam, the color deep rosy-orange, tinted by the blood-streaked flesh. I also started a batch of peach schnapps infusing in the closet.

Yesterday, I tried my hand at making fruit leather from some of the peaches, a venture so successful I wonder why I've never tried it before. I've already got another batch drying, this time a peach-blueberry combination.


Before the harvest is done, I hope to make several more batches of jam, perhaps a peach-ginger batch and maybe a peach rhubarb. I don't think this is the best baking peach, as it is so soft-fleshed, but I may try a pie anyway. Some peach ice cream sounds good. However, what I will be doing most of is eating this peach fresh, slightly hunched over to avoid the drips, sometimes over the sink, sometimes over a plate, and quite frequently in the garden, slurping it up and dropping the pit wherever it may fall.

Tree details:
  • Eva's Pride, a Zaiger introduction patented in 1991, has been in the ground at this property since early 2010.
  • It is on Nemaguard rootstock.
  • It is heavily mulched, and, during the warm months, watered twice a week on a drip system.
  • This is its second crop.


Unknown said...

Christina, while the picture itself is worth 1000 words,your post is making me salivate!

Anonymous said...

These peach leathers look amazing. Reading your blog makes me want to get more fruit trees!

Christina said...

Lori: thanks!

Jessica: The payoff for fruit trees is so high. Yes, they take work--winter and summer pruning, dormant spray, careful mulching, but the bang is worth much more than the buck, especially for a very productive tree, like Eva's Pride.

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

I'll have to try peach leather. We make apple and blackberry leather all the time, and it is sooo good. Congrats on the peach crop! Ours are still green, but hanging on.

Tom in San Diego said...

I have an Eva's pride peach tree too. On it's second year it produced 2-300 peaches after heavy thinning. It's on its third year and starting to flower. The amount of blooms is amazing for such a young tree. Should be another season with lots of peaches.

Dan said...

Where do you buy your peach trees? I'm in the bay area and looking to buy an eva's pride as well! thanks!

Christina said...

Hi Dan. I mail-ordered my trees at that house and will likely do so again as I install a few trees up here now in San Francisco. Most of my trees came from Trees of Antiquity, but some others came from Peaceful Valley (aka Grow Organic). I suggest planting bare-root for the most success. You may have missed your window this year.

Anonymous said...

Christina, I just bought an Eva's Pride today because of this post. Any experience with apricots? lol

Thank you for an enjoyable read ! jean

jemaco said...

I just went to the nursery and bought an Eva's Pride to plant. She even has two little peaches on her already ;) Looking forward to next year's harvest, hopefully...thank you, Christina!

Christina said...

Hi Jean. I hope it grows well for you! That tree was my star producer in my Altadena garden--great peach, healthy tree.

jemaco said...

Christina, update: one of the original two peaches fell off and a deer got the other. Next year I will net. Today is 9/4 and there are 3 blooms on it!!! Have you ever heard of a peach tree blooming in the fall?

Christina said...

Hi Jemaco: I just realized in the last comment, autocorrect turned Jemaco to Jean. Sorry about that. I'm not surprised to hear the tree is blooming in the fall, especially since it's young and hasn't had many years to build seasons in your yard. Bloom could be brought on in a low chill tree like Eva's Pride by a period of drought followed by a deep watering. As the tree grows and starts to be productive, you will want to thin the fruit. Eva overproduces like nobody's business. Even after mercilessly thinning, my Eva would bear so much branches would break. Every year I had to force myself to thin more, but the benefits of thinning definitely paid off: healthier tree, bigger and better tasting fruit. Good luck with your tree!