Thursday, August 14, 2014


'Polly' peach is finally ripening. It seemed to take forever. But I did choose 'Polly' because it is a late-midseason ripening peach, to keep the peach season as long as possible, and it is also a late bloomer, better to withstand the late frosts we often get. My records indicate that I picked the first 'Redhaven', an early season peach, about 3 weeks ago. I chose 'Redhaven' due to its supposed reliability, and being the peach that all others are compared against.

Trees of Antiquity describes 'Polly' as:
"Polly White peach is one of the most winter hardy heirloom peach varieties; withstands temperatures to -20 degrees F.  Polly White has medium to large fruit with white skin overlaid with a rich crimson blush.  Very sweet, tender, juicy, white freestone flesh of the highest quality.  Very hardy and productive." The Sunset Garden Book lists 'Polly' as best in Sunset zones 1-3, 10, which is a quite narrow range, and unusual to be specific for zone 10 and not for zones 14-16 which is where most peaches seem to thrive. It also mentions that "Tree and buds very hardy to cold," again, important for our late frosts.

As far as growing, compared to 'Redhaven', 'Polly' is much less vigorous in growth. Whereas 'Redhaven' puts out at least 3-4 feet of growth each year, 'Polly' puts out from 6 inches to 2 feet at most. Leaves are dark green, whereas 'Redhaven' is rather yellow in comparison. Flowers of 'Polly' are large and attractive whereas those on 'Redhaven' are hardly noticeable. 'Polly' is described as white, but those on my tree are decidedly greenish even when ripe, despite the red blush. 'Redhaven' has yellow blushed red fruit. Both have delicious flavor, although 'Polly' seems to have a drier texture, at least this year. Maybe I'm not watering enough. This is the third year for 'Polly' and although I thinned many fruit, there are still dozens. Last year it had none. This is the second year after planting for 'Redhaven' and it had 4 fruit. We shall see what happens next year.

Addendum 8/16/2014: Perhaps with a little more ripening, or the big monsoon rain, the fruit on 'Polly' has become very juicy and intensely sweet. It has a nice sweet/tart balance, less tart and less resinous than Redhaven. Not better, not worse, just different. 

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