The cultivation of peaches began in China as early as 2000 B.C. It continued through the old world and was transported to the America’s where peach cultivation thrived on the east coast.
By the mid-1700s, peaches were so plentiful in the United
States that botanists thought them to be a native fruit. Currently
California, South Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey account for 3/4 of U.S. peach production. New York grows over 2000 acres of
peaches, over a 25% is located in the eastern portion
of the state.
Clingstones vs. Freestones:
There are 2 types of peaches, clingstone and freestone. With clingstone peaches, the flesh “clings” to the "stone" (the pit), making it difficult to separate. As clingstone varieties retain their flavor and texture during processing, they are more suitable to canning and value added products.
The pit of
freestone peaches separates easily from the flesh, making it ideal for fresh
consumption. Freestone peaches are generally larger than clingstones
with a firmer, less juicy texture. While most commonly eaten fresh,
these peaches may also be frozen and dried.
Annual consumption had dropped to 8.8 pounds per person in the last two decades due to the customers' frustration with mealy textures, fruit browning and lack of sweetness. But this frustration has actually helped improve demand for local, NY produced peaches - there is simply nothing like a tree-ripened peach.
Over the last 20 years, Cornell research and extension projects have helped growers increase yields and fruit quality by increasing tree densities and improving labor efficiency. We estimate that profitability of new high density orchards is 100 to 300% greater than the traditional low-density orchards.
More information about tree fruit production at the Cornell Tree Fruit: http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/tree_fruit/index.htm.
Last updated July 27, 2020