PEACHY KEEN® PEACH
(Prunus persica sp.)
August 2011 I met with 154 Central Coast Chapter Rare Fruit Growers at the home of Clifford Chapman in Shell Beach, CA. After the meeting Joe Sabol with Cal Poly, SLO asked about the L. E. Cooke Co growing Mr. Chapman’s seedling peach. Several people spoke of the quality and great flavor.
They went west of the home into the sand from the beach and cut budwood for me to take to Visalia. I was interested because this seedling next to the ocean had to be very low chill.
The L. E Cooke Co budded and in December 2012 dug 24 trees. January 11, 2013 we plant 5 of the trees in Cooke 2 orchard and took the balance to Joe Sabol at Cal Poly. Mr. Chapman had died that year so never received his.
These trees were all very large which is common for those requiring very little chill as they leaf earlier and grow longer.
Showy Spring Bloom
March 2014 the Peachy Keen, (Chapman) peach was the first to flower along with Flordaprince making it a 150 to 200 hour peach or mildest peach in our collection. The five trees had a mass of very large pink flowers for a first year and I assumed most would not develop.
Heavy Fruit Set - 18 months after planting
Early July every tree had close to 100 peaches supplying our sales and office staff and many field employees. Note - this is on a tree planted in the ground for only 1.7 years. We picked fruit over a 3 week period with very good flavored peaches. All fruit size was medium to large and would have been very large if we had thinned the trees. The trees were way overloaded. I recorded the peak ripening date as July 7. We had already picked for a week and continued picking for two more weeks.
Flower: very large, colorful, full bloom 2/15 with Flordaprince. Based on bloom date, I list as a 200 hour chill need, possibly 150 hours.
Fruit: sets heavy like a Babcock so medium size fruit. With thinning, Peachy Keen peach will produce large fruit. Very good flavor as I had been told at the Rare Fruit Growers meeting by several people. The skin is very colorful red 90% except in stem area. Texture: solid, firm, good flavor, red at pit and very freestone. Easy to cut without getting juice all over you, yet flesh moist. Pit is small. The selection appears promising for a lunch fruit because of firm flesh similar to an apple.
Peachy Keen peach is a very unusual tree and fruit. It is a healthy grower because starts early due to low chill need, large colorful and long lasting flowers. The variety has a heavy set of very colorful fruit with firm moist tasty flesh and very freestone. A tree only 18 months from planting with over 100 peaches is remarkable. January 10, 2015, the sales staff renamed the Chapman peach to Peachy Keen® Peach.
Ripening date: Early July.