Spend a few minutes on my blog perusing summer posts, and you’ll easily grasp my love of growing and eating fresh fruit, and note my undeniable love of the peach, especially. Well after twelve years of trying to harvest a decent peach on an island better suited for cloud-cover, lichen, moss and raindrop cultivation, I may have found a peach variety that stands up to such conditions with juicy aplomb: the Nanaimo Peach.
The Nanaimo peach is a peach leaf curl resistant variety from Canada. Its namesake island city, three hours to the north on Vancouver Island, shares a similar climate to Vashon Island, Washington, where I live. Nanaimo is also known around these parts for a delicious baked confection born from the kitchens of this harbor city: the Nanaimo bar, a three-layered bar cookie worthy of a swoon or two. Ah but I digress, back to the peach.
I planted this Nanaimo peach about five years ago, and like most fruit trees, the first year it slept; the second year it crept; and the third year it leapt. And this year, well, I had a respectable harvest of peaches, 20 or so handsome orange orbs with few blemishes, and of medium size. And I grew these without a drop, spray or dusting of any pesticide.
You may ask what’s the big deal? Can’t you grow a peach tree just about anywhere? I fear the answer is no, no you can’t. In the Pacific Northwest it’s a challenge, stemming from a shortage of heat units and poor pollinating conditions during spring bloom (namely incessant rain, the kind Seattle is famous for). Now, west of the Cascades on the sunny side of the state, the area boasts perfect peaches of prodigious proportions.
The sad tree above, a peach tree cultivar named Betty, was sold and touted as a peach leaf curl resistant variety. I would dispute that selling point, as I’ve never had a peach tree succumb to peach leaf curl so quickly and die. And this tree is a mere ten feet away from the super-healthy, thriving Nanaimo peach tree. While their growing and site conditions were the same, the results were night and day.
So if you are looking for a backyard peach tree, I plead my case and share the evidence that Nanaimo Peach beats the leaves off other peach leaf curl resistant varieties, namely Frost, Avalon Pride, Oregon Free, Muir, and Q-1-8. I’m still quite fond of another resistant variety, a white peach named Charlotte.
How about I leave you with two of my favorite peach recipes, and my well wishes: