LONG BEACH PEACH
This is an Elberta peach seedling from a customer at Park's Nursery, Long Beach, California. L. E. Cooke Co. salesman Robbie Roberts became aware of it about 1985 through Doug McGavin, an employee at Park's. Carl Wisenhutter, nursery manager and son of owner, was impressed with the fruit.
Budwood was brought to our office by Mr. Roberts and a few trees were budded for our orchard to be reviewed. One tree was sent to George Nyland at UC Davis to check for virus. We planted two trees in our new virus free Mother Block orchard February 1, 1991. We temporarily named it Long Beach from its source location as it had no other formal name.
At this time in our business we were rearranging ownership responsibilities and making management changes and had hundreds of trial trees in our orchard and just beginning our virus certified program and the Long Beach peach was ignored during the process. They were cared for along with all our own stock plants but they were not in our research orchard near the office.
1994 we developed a much larger Mother Block virus certified orchard farther away from all Stone and Pome fruit orchards. We began to phase out Orchard 67, original Mother Block, supplied by George Nyland at UC Davis. At this time we realized we had two Long Beach peach trees and not part of our program.
We considered removing them when the sales staff and Bob Ludekens noticed the very heavy crop where all limbs weeping with very abundant fruit. Everyone liked the fruit. We then collected more information. These trees were the first to flower making it our variety with the least need of chill hours (estimated less than 200).
We now had a peach requiring fewer chill hours than our Florida selections and very heavy production, with good flavor coming from Elberta. Because of the heavy crop, the fruit was medium size but would be larger if thinned in the spring as often done with Babcock Peach. We now had a very early ripening with a very low chill requirement peach. It was a winner. We left the temporary name of Long Beach as we had it named for years.
July 2008 Long Beach Peach were budded and sold for delivery January 2010. The variety sold out the first years. We now have a good late May-early June peach for areas lacking cold winters. Potentially has the lowest number of hours of chill for an excellent peach.
Robert Ludekens 8-9-2012