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 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 coastal 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.
Why Nanaimo Is My Number One Peach Tree Choice
- Truly Peach Leaf Curl (PLC) resistant
- the first couple years PLC will be present, but as the tree matures the tree seems to build greater resistance to the disease
- Healthy Tree, few problems, vigorous grower
- Pollinates readily even in less than desirable spring rains and cool temperatures
- Seems to be self-pollinating
- Deliciously sweet fruit (no bitterness or high acid aftertaste)
- Easy to remove fruit from tree when ripe, a simple pull and light twist will release fruit
- Drought tolerate, that is needs less water than my other orchard trees
What Peach Leaf Curl Looks Like
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:
Update: Also, I ordered the tree from One Green World Nursery.
Nanaimo Tree Sources: direct links (no promotion paid, just for your information)