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Do I Finally Just Give Up on MA Peaches?

Let's be honest, Georgia is a much better climate for peaches, plums, etc.

In a good year, MA peaches can be pretty good, even excellent. But this summer was terrible, heat early messed up flowering, deluge made what fruit there was watery, and then lack of HEAT in August meant the fruit never got sweet. Mushy, flavorless, blech, my kids won't touch them.

This may have been the worst year for stone fruit in MA that I can remember, but it is never great. I may just stick with trucked in peaches in the future, and wait for the (EXCELLENT) apples.

As an aside, in our new digs in Concord half the houses have old apple trees (sadly ours doesn't) and no one seems to pick them. When we walk around our hood we help our selves to the ones hanging over the paths as most of the apples just fall to the ground. Now cause the trees are totally neglected the apples are smallish, irregular, sometimes with mottled/funky skin. But Oh the apples! I now know which trees grow the really excellent varieties and hit those regularly. Firm, flavorful, sweet, excellent apples. My kids love them.

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  1. Not sure where you are getting you local peaches this year but the ones from my trees have been just as good as past years.
    If I can only keep the squirrels from getting them I'd have more to enjoy.

    1. Oh, that's sad. Summer fruit is one of the best things. Not peaches, but I got some nectarines from the farm stand at the Davis Flea (Dick's I think) that were just amazing. So juicy and flavorful, the best fruit I had all summer. Not super convenient to Concord, but closer than Georgia at least. :)

      1. I also had the most amazing local nectarines in a long time from Wilson Farm this past weekend - hoping they are still there and as good - perfectly ripe, sweet, fragrant, and juicy!

        1 Reply
        1. re: rlh

          Right, and we've had Wilson's peaches which were/are still the juiciest, sweetest I had in a long time.

        2. That is surprising, a friend has been getting them at honeypot orchards and said they were great this year, but the season is getting close to being over anyway, can't wait for empire and jonathan apples to be ready.

          1. A couple weeks ago I got some incredible peaches from Atkins Farm out in Amherst. Large, fragrant and juicy. I was tempted to make the 90 min drive out there for more.

            1. I will admit that I got some very good nectarines a while back. With all the posts below I guess I'll just keep slugging away. Sucks when you get bad ones though.

              1. Went to Tougas Farms this past Saturday and had wonderful nectarines and peaches. I regretted not getting a larger container! Managed to snag some really crisp and flavorful galas as well. And like Infomaniac, my neighbor's tree has been giving good peaches.

                1. We got scrumptious peaches at Crow Farm in Sandwich this past weekend. Going for more tomorrow!

                  1. Idylwilde Farms in Acton had very good local peaches a couple of weeks ago. I keep meaning to stop by and pick up some more, hoping they are still as good.

                    1. As a corollary to this discussion, thoughts on local melons?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Got a muskmelon from my CSA. Smelled good, looked good, but had absolutely no flavor. But it was my first muskmelon so maybe my expectations were wrong (similar to a honeydew and not as sweet as cantaloupe?).

                        1. re: viperlush

                          Muskmelon is the same as cantaloupe.

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            I thought that cantaloupes are a type of muskmelon. This melon had deep grooves (skin texture was like a cantaloupe) and light green flesh ( similar to a honeydew).

                        2. re: StriperGuy

                          hi striperguy! i had the best, sweetest yellow watermelon (probably officially called something else) AND peaches from the stillman's farmstand, like in the last two weeks. you live in concord now? so nashoba bakery is more convenient to you than clear flour these days ;)

                          1. re: dchow

                            Hmmm, will see if I can find some Stillman's at the Belmont Farmer's market.

                            LOVE Nashoba bakery.

                        3. Striper: we live in Carlise and bought a couple of great peach trees from agway (Littleton) just before father's day, they recently bore us delicious fruit and lots of it, I was able to freeze some for fruit crumbles in the dead of winter. Do you have room for your own tree?

                          4 Replies
                            1. re: momoftwo

                              YOU planted peach trees and they bore fruit the first year? How big are those trees when you buy 'em?

                              1. re: KWagle

                                They were good sized trees, over 7 feet tall, $70 bux at Agway but the day we were there, it was buy one, get one free. I got the idea from seeing some really scrawny trees at Whole foods in Fresh pond, almost bought them there. So glad I did not, since the Agway ones seemed much healthier. the peaches are on the small side but juicy and sweet.

                                1. re: momoftwo

                                  How big a hole do you have to dig to plant a 7' tall tree?

                            2. Mann's Orchards in Methuen have been pretty darn good this year. as have the nectarines.
                              don't give up...travel to Benson's for their home made local peach ice cream. or the place in stow that makes their own..can never remember the name.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: grumpyspatient

                                Have you been to Benson's recently. I've been twice this year and have noticed the ice cream (strawberry both visits) was not the same as previous visits, and wondering if things changed. I may stop by to try them Peach too see if that is the same as I remember from last year.
                                It just seemed different but it could be me.

                                1. re: Infomaniac

                                  I had the strawberry only once this year and it was pretty good. have had peach twice so far and thought it very good.

                                  will have to try again this weekend ;-) ... just to be sure

                                  1. re: grumpyspatient

                                    Thanks...it was early this year when I went. Their Peach has always been my favorite of the summer for ice cream.

                              2. The lazy man in me certainly understands why one wouldn't want to grow an apple tree from scratch. But if there is one on your property already, it's really not that hard to maintain and get some good apples! Unbelievable!

                                BTW, no need to go all the way to Georgia or South Carolina. New Jersey grows some good peaches.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                  We've got an apple tree in our backyard that produces a ton of fruit, but almost every apple is covered with black spots. I tried peeling with the thought of turning them into applesauce, but the insides are full of unpalatable brown streaks. I hate seeing all these apples go to waste (they're Macouns, too, which I like a lot), but I have no idea what to do to get healthy looking apples. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

                                  1. re: katzzz

                                    Probably have to spray them. Some of the ones I "borrow" on our walks have black dots on the skin, but the flesh is super firm, white and crunchy.

                                    1. re: katzzz

                                      Is your tree in the backyard set in the lawn that you might fertilize? If it is, don't fertilize near the tree.

                                      Sounds like your tree may be deficient in boron which can cause the brownness. Hopefully you aren't over pruning too.

                                      If this is the case, you can cure it with borax from a garden center, and water the tree well during dry periods.

                                      1. re: Infomaniac

                                        Infomaniac: Our backyard is rather tiny and the apple tree dominates. We don't use fertilizer. We have done minimal pruning, but are thinking of doing more because the tree is slightly out of control size-wise. Thanks for the boron/borox tip -- will look into it.
                                        Striper: The flesh of our black-spotted apples is firm and crunchy, but with most of the apples the white is streaked throughout with brown. If there's some kind of "green" spray I'd want to use it, but the tree has gotten quite tall and there's no way to reach the top branches short of getting a very tall ladder (which I won't be doing).

                                        1. re: katzzz

                                          k, your best bet is to ask advice at a local nursery. Apple trees are known for all the problems they can have.

                                    2. re: Alcachofa

                                      Yah, Jersey is just that much hotter.

                                    3. Bought small but really sweet ones from a vendor at the Union Sq. farmer's market a couple of weeks ago.

                                      1. So sorry to know that you ran across some MA peaches that were less than peachy. I've sampled peaches from different places in Massachusetts--and New Hampshire--this season. Quality's been excellent across the board in 2013. No mealy peaches because they didn't get to ripen enough on the tree!

                                        In an average year I find the quality varies quite a bit. Disappointing peaches make me sad, so I usually buy a couple to try before committing.

                                        Sometimes the fruit has needed a day or two in a paper bag on the kitchen counter to ripen gorgeously.

                                        Here are some sources I've sampled peaches from this year:

                                        Carlson Orchards -- Harvard, MA: peaches and nectarines. Actually ran across these at Morning Glory Farm on Martha's Vineyard but have seen at area farmstands in the past.
                                        http://www.carlsonorchards.com/

                                        Hill Orchards/Monadnock Berries -- Westford, MA: peaches and nectarines.
                                        They sell at a bunch of area farmers' markets (see web page) and at Hill Orchards in Westford.
                                        http://westfordhillorchard.com/?page_...

                                        Brookdale Farm -- Hollis, NH: peaches
                                        My CSA in Massachusetts sometimes gives us fruit from here; I'm guessing they may also distribute to some farmstands.
                                        http://www.brookdalefarms.com/

                                        My neighbor's peach trees. This year his trees are loaded with a bumper crop of small but delicious gems. He can't keep up with the bounty. Really makes me consider planting a tree as others have suggested.

                                        The stone-fruit season is fleeting so I hope you'll locate some to enjoy very soon.

                                        P.S. We have a neglected, old apple tree in our yard, too. For some reason the fruit is excellent this season. Most years, the bugs get to the apples before the fruit has much of a chance.

                                        1. We get peaches from our CSA, which buys from several different farms. IIRC when I asked about buying in bulk the first year, I was advised to wait until Cider Hill's peaches were ready, and they were really good peaches.

                                          it seems like the earlier peaches we get from the CSA are cling, and not as good (flavor-wise) as the later-ripening peaches that are freestones. We've had awesome peaches the last couple of weeks and they're all freestone...maybe it depends on the variety of peach tree, and who grows what.

                                          My parents used to load up the trunk of the car with the best peaches ever in Central PA, and they were freestone.

                                          I'm not having much luck with the peach tree in my yard..planted it as a whip and let it fruit its 3rd year. I got exactly ONE delicious, luscious peach; then and since the squirrels have gotten the rest. The tree itself is not all that healthy - I think it arrived with some borers as tenants - and I probably should cut it down. But the blossoms are beautiful in the spring and I keep hoping the squirrels will go eat elsewhere.

                                          1. I heard that Honeypot in Stow has great peaches this year. It is not too far from Concord.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Kat

                                              Thanks for this rec. I'd forgotten about Honeypot and I think that's where we'll go for some peach and apple picking. I've always gone to Cider Hill and been very pleased with their quality but since we've moved, Honeypot is a lot closer.

                                            2. Dick's in Lunneburg has had some of the best MA peaches and plums I have had in a long time. I know they have a stand at the Copley Market on Tuesdays and Fridays. Give them a shot.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ScoobieSnack

                                                Thanks for all the good suggestions folks.

                                                1. re: ScoobieSnack

                                                  Yeah, the nectarines we've been getting from Dick's this year are excellent.

                                                2. Wow. I love MA peaches.... my Georgian husband loves MA peaches [and he grew up in a peach orchard.] Georgia peaches have been bred to taste like straight sugar instead of peaches.

                                                  Our favorite peaches come from the Nicewicz farm, but I have bought some from a farm in Bolton that were pretty good as well. This year their plums have been particularly good as well.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    Agree with this - Nicewicz farms has the best peaches and taste just fanstastic.

                                                    They have a pick-your-own option right now for the peaches and some apples.

                                                    1. re: MXG

                                                      here are farmers markets that they do:

                                                      info@nicewiczfarm.com or call us at 978-779-6423.
                                                      Day Location Time
                                                      Monday Westside / Foley Stadium
                                                      Worcester 9:30-2:00
                                                      Tuesday U.Mass. Medical Center
                                                      Worcester
                                                      Tuesday Cold Spring Park
                                                      Newton 1:30-6:00
                                                      Wednesday Arlington Center
                                                      Arlington 2:00-6:30
                                                      Wednesday Davis Square
                                                      Somerville 12:00-6:00
                                                      Thursday
                                                      Belmont Center
                                                      Belmont 1:30-7:00
                                                      Thursday Coolidge Corner
                                                      Brookline 1:30-dusk
                                                      Friday Westside / Foley Stadium
                                                      Worcester 9:30-2:00
                                                      Saturday Natick Common
                                                      Natick 9:00-1:00
                                                      Saturday Union Square
                                                      Somerville 9:00-1:00

                                                  2. Shelburne Farm has PYO peaches this time of year, always juicy and sweet (at least one of their varieties). Better than anything I've had elsewhere, and better than most of those not-sweet local peaches available at the farmers' markets.

                                                    1. We have enjoyed peaches from Volante Farms this year. They have been great. This past week I bought some fabulous plums as well.

                                                      1. Hello! I grew up in your area. Well today I went to Smolak Farms in Andover and picked some great peaches! We also picked apples (I think it was too early) and plums. I just added some peaches to my sangria tonight.

                                                        1. Had some great CA and NJ peaches this season. Unfortunately none from MA or NH. Most of the CA peaches were huge, like 9 pieces equaled 6 pounds, and very sweet. Began with season with the cling variety and ended with freestones.