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News Story
Updated: 06/18/2014 12:13:35AM

Peaches — the queen of fruits

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The University of Florida has produced peach cultivars ideal for our climate. Peach trees are hardy and unopened buds tolerate 20 degrees. Flowers may be injured by temperatures below 28 degrees.
The peach blossoms resemble apple blooms. Each flower has the potential to become a ripe peach within two to three months.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com
The Florida peach harvest season extends from April to mid-June, filling the void between when peaches from South America and northern states are available. Pick peaches when they are fully colored and flesh has just begun to soften.

ARCADIAN FILE PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN

The secret to growing peaches is to select varieties that match the amount of chilling hours the growing area receives. Peaches for Florida also must be grafted on Flordaguard rootstock to prevent nematode damage.

ARCADIAN FILE PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN

The secret to growing peaches is to select varieties that match the amount of chilling hours the growing area receives. Peaches for Florida also must be grafted on Flordaguard rootstock to prevent nematode damage.

By KAREN SMOKE

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Peaches have been called the queen of fruits, and with good reason. We recall biting into nearly softball-sized tree-ripened Jersey peaches that oozed sweetness and flavor. Supermarket peaches rarely equal that memory of perfection.

You can grow your own peaches in Florida, and though they’re not large, they’re every bit as sweet, juicy and flavorful as that memory of peach perfection. It hasn’t always been possible. Forty-five years of research and breeding by the University of Florida has produced peach cultivars ideal for our climate. The U of F cultivars are patented and money generated from the sale of trees goes into the Florida stone fruit breeding program.

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