The Alexander B. Hepler, Jr. family lived in Long Beach, California. Their son took approximately 12 peach pits and planted them in cans. One of these pits grew into a fast growing tree producing very tasty August peaches.
Mrs. Hepler contacted Mr. Ludekens to learn if we would grow the variety. Our salesman brought quality fruit from the tree to the office. The Hepler home was very near the Long Beach airport, so we researched a five year temperature record. The location had 225 to 260 hours of 45° weather during the five year period. This record meant we had a very good flavored peach which required very little chilling, very possibly less than 200 hours.
Our salesman obtained budwood and we budded a few trees in 1970 to plant in our orchard. A few years later we had some very good fruit. I had a problem with the bloom as it seemed late for a 200 hour peach. I called Dr. Wineberger, the USDA researcher in Fresno and informed him what I knew. He told me bloom dates can vary so go by the facts in Long Beach.
August 5, 1976, the company filed for a patent which was received February 1, 1977. We grew and sold this peach all over the coastal mild winter areas. We felt we had a wonderful large tasty mild winter variety which we named Tropi-Berta.
We began to see delayed leafing and in many years, no fruit. A few years later our production manger went to see the original tree in Long Beach. The tree was in a deep 20’ hole which made it a very different colder micro-climate. I then realized I should have gone by the bloom date and listed it as a 600 hour peach. Thereafter I have gone to see any new variety to learn if in a micro-climate caused by location.
Tropi-Berta Peach is a large very colorful 3-1/4” fruit. The skin is yellow with smooth overlay of red on most of it; yellow flesh to red at the pit, with a rich, juicy, firm, crisp, melting texture. The fruit is round, sub-acid, best eating quality flesh.
This peach needs to be sold in the inland areas where 600 to 900 hours of chill. Today it would have been a major seller in the San Joaquin Valley and 600 hour areas. The company erred in the chill requirement. The variety is still grown and liked by nurserymen who have eaten the fruit. Unfortunately nurseries in the 600 to 900 hour areas have many choices and only sell what the public knows which are Elberta and Hale that ripen 800-900 hours, which do not have good production every year.
Mrs. Hepler had health issues, so the royalty paid was for her son’s college education. In some ways I would like to re-name it and promote in the 600 hour and up areas. I know of a tree in Los Osos that fruited well as others that did not. If in a mild climate on the north or east side of a home, it could have 200 to 300 more chill hours but in full sun could not fruit or even leaf. A great choice for the San Joaquin Valley – San Bernardino – Riverside to El Cajon, Atascadero – Paso Robles, and the inland and north Bay area. Tropi-Berta does not require the chill of Elberta and Hale type peaches.
Bob Ludekens 12-29-13
When I think of the best peaches for August ripening (and August has some of the very best flavored peaches), Tropi-Berta® is right at the top of the list. Very large peach. Very great taste. If you have the climate (chill hours) for it, you should plant it.
Ron Ludekens 6-30-17
More Photos:Tropi-Berta Peach