Tuesday, 25 March 2014 22:20

Santa Barbara Peach History

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Santa Barbara Peach



Approximately 1984 I received a call from Frank Mori at Kata-Shi Nursery, Goleta, California.  A customer Paul Herrigal had purchased one of our Ventura Peaches (Hale type) and it had Elberta type fruit.

I drove to Goleta to see the tree and fruit.  Ventura fruit is round and this fruit was pointed similar to Elberta with melting soft texture of an Elberta with a good flavor and high sugar.  I cut some budwood for research in Visalia.

Two years later I received a call from John Bauman, Palos Verdes Begonia Farm, in Torrance, California.  He had a customer with a tree with Elberta fruit growing near the ocean.  I asked him where it came from and he replied - "L. E. Cooke Co."  I asked what was sold to his customer.  They could not locate any sales record.  I inquired if possibly a Ventura and John said that is the name his customer thought it was.

The L. E. Cooke Co had six Ventura trees in the orchard for scion wood.  We discovered the last tree had one limb in the center - a sport producing the Elberta quality fruit.

The staff named this selection from Goleta Santa Barbara and we have produced all trees from that original selection.  We now have an Elberta quality fruit producing on the coast.

This Ventura sport has several advantages over all other mild winter varieties.  Santa Barbara peach is large pointed fruit similar to Elberta, very colorful with yellow red blush skin, yellow, freestone, melting fine texture flesh, and red near the pit.  Excellent sweet flavor.  Santa Barbara peach produces fruit in lower chill areas than even Ventura peach.  We now list Santa Barbara at 200 hours vs. 400 - 500 hours for Ventura peach.

The L. E. Cooke Co. went into production of Santa Barbara peach July 1990.

It was not long before Santa Barbara peach became our largest selling peach variety.  This selection produces Elberta quality in the San Joaquin Valley as it did in Southern California on the coast.  A young tree sets fruit and has a good crop.  Like most high sugar fruit, it does not hold up more than 2 to 3 days.

In Visalia, the Santa Barbara peach ripens from July 8 - 15; late July in Goleta, and earlier in Southern California.  We are fortunate to have such a quality fruit for the mild winter areas.  This sport is one of many examples of new variety discovered on one limb of a tree producing a different fruit.  This is nature's way of hybridizing.

Robert Ludekens 12-27-2013

Santa Barbara Peach Information Page - Point of Sale Page


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