Organic farming means developing a model of production of fresh vegetables and fruits paying maximum respect to the natural resources, in order to conserve the environment and protect the consumers’ health.
Like all varieties of fruit and vegetable products that are traded the most, even peaches are now evaluated from an organic point of view, in accordance with the possible parasite control done through available phytosanitary products; nowadays, more attention is given to the organic farming and with this to the production of organic peaches, as it is a farming that aims at prevention and acts especially to improve soil fertility, with the purpose to control, reduce or eliminate cultivation problems. Nowadays there are more and more producers of organic peaches, importers of organic peaches, exporters of organic peaches, wholesalers of organic peaches and retailers of organic peaches, who embraced methods and values of organic farming.
Fruit and vegetable products coming from organic farming are produced using production methods that allow to utilize only substances of natural origin to tackle any agronomic adversity that cultivation of peaches might encounter, as well as nutritional substances to enhance their developement.
It is an extremely important step for the consumer, as it outlines the quality of the process and of all the entities involved in the production of peaches, guaranteed by the label of the fruit and vegetable product on the international market, with fruit and vegetable companies that produce certified peaches according to the EU norms on organic farming, to the European Regulation 2092/91, later annulled with the new CE 834/2007, created to protect the environment. The label, is thus a “certification” of valid, healthy and higher quality fruit and vegetable products.
Some researches in this sector, in fact, showed that organic peaches, apples and kiwis have a firmer texture and contain more nutritional substances and antioxidants such as natural sugars, vitamin C, beta-carotene and polyphenols, agreeing with earlier researchers, such as that of the Italian “Istituto nazionale di ricerca per gli alimenti e la nutrizione” (National Institute of Research for Food and Nutrition), that in 2002 noted higher nutritional values in organic peaches, pears, plums and oranges comparing them to their conventional counter-party produced with traditional cultivations.
The organic cultivation of peaches has recently become widespread, even though, in some environments the control of parasite such as thripidae for nectarines and the Monilia for the harvesting of fruits is still difficult.
The choice of the variety of peaches for the organic farming must not differ too much from the traditional production of peaches, but rather must differ only for some qualifying features.
In general, the varieties of peaches suitable for the organic cultivation must have a low sensibility to the most dangerous phytosanitary adversities of the area of cultivation; early or medium early varieties are recommended, to avoid further difficulties linked to the protection, as the appearance of the fruit and the organoleptic qualities have to be well accepted by the fruit and vegetable market.
The choice of the varieties of organic peaches is done not only knowing the sensibility to any parasite, bu also according to the agronomic, pomological and productive aspects typical of the cultivar chosen. One of the considered aspect is, as said before, the period of ripening, with a distribution per variety of peaches that is about 54% of yellow flesh peaches, followed by percoche peaches and then by nectarines (especially yellow). Apart from percoche peaches, that tend to ripe late, in general all the controlled varieties have a very early or early ripening period, which is more suitable for the organic cultivation of peaches.
Among the varieties of peaches suitable for the organic farming there are yellow flesh varieties, percoche peaches varieties and organic nectarines with yellow flesh varieties. Among these, the most known varieties of peaches are:
- YELLOW FLESH PEACHES
- MAYCREST: variety of peaches with medium-small fruits; they have an average weight of about 110 gr. each; the fruits are round more, protruding at the apex and have a red skin and a yellowish flesh, firm and adherent to the stone, with a good flavour. Ripening: end of May.
- EARLY MAYCREST: variety of peaches with medium-small fruits that weight about 148 gr each; the fruits are round-oblate, with a hollowed apex, a yellow skin blushed with bright red and an intense yellow flesh. This variety of peaches is medium sweet. Ripening: beginning of July.
- SPRINGCREST: variety of peaches with medium-large fruits that have an average weight of about 165 gr. each; the fruits are round or round-oblate, with a yellow skin covered by an intense red for the 85% of the surface, and an orange flesh, firm and freestone. Ripening: end of May.
- SPRINGBELLE: variety of peaches very productive, with medium fruits, round and widely covered with intense red. Their flesh is yellow, very firm and slightly acidic; they are late ripening.
- FLAVORCREST: variety of peaches with medium-small fruits; they have an average weight of about 155 gr. each; the fruits are round and have an orange skin covered with an intense red for the 75% of the surface, and a yellow flesh with a good and fruity flavour. Ripening: beginning of June.
- RICHMAY: variety of peaches with very large fruits, that are round, sometimes sharp according to the winter and to the vegetative rest. This variety of peaches has a yellow, very firm flesh according to the period of ripening and keeps very well on the tree. Ripening: beginning of July
- ROYAL GLORY®: variety of peaches with medium-large or large fruits that are round, not very velvet, with a very beautiful and early red skin; their flesh is intense yellow, speckled when overripe, very firm, tasty, sweet, slightly sub-acidic. Ripening: mid-July.
- RICH LADY*: variety of peaches with an excellent colour, fruits and taste; the tree is vigorous, rising, with an early and poor blooming. It is suitable to environments that enhance its productivity. Fruits are medium-large or large, round or slightly flat, covered with an intense and bright red that appears before the ripening, not too much velvet. Their flesh is yellow or yellow-orange, speckled with red when ripe, very firm, good-tasting and semi-freestone.
- REDHAVEN (0): variety of peaches with a good production level. fruits are medium-large, round-ellipsoidal, widely covered with light red an quite velvet. Their flesh is yellow and slightly speckled with red, firm, freestone and very tasty. This variety is particularly suitable to organic farming because it is not very sensible to parasites such as aphides or the taphrina deformans. Ripening: July. For the fresh market is one of the best varieties.
- MARIA MARTA* : variety of peaches with medium-large fruits, round and covered for the 70% of the surface with red on a yellow background. Their flesh is light yellow speckled with red next to the stone, very firm, freestone and tasty.
- SYMPHONIE*: variety of peaches with a regular production level and large or very large fruits, round and regular. The skin is intense red tending to orange-red on the 80% of the surface, with stripes on the less exposed fruits, on a yellow-orange background. Their flesh is yellow, juicy, sweet, flavoured and freestone.
- YELLOW FLESH NECTARINES
- BIG BANG® Maillara*: large fruits with a bright red skin. The flesh is yellow, tasty and flavoured. Early variety of nectarines, with a huge blooming and production level. The plant is quite vigorous.
- RITA STAR® Bratastar*: nectarine whose fruits are medium-large and weigh about 160 gr. They are round or slightly oblate, the skin is intense red on almost all the surface. The flesh is orange, firm, tasty and freestone. Variety of nectarine vigorous and with a great production level.
- AMBRA: variety of nectarines with a vigorous tree and huge and early blooming, with a very high production level; for this reason a longer thinning period is necessary compared to other varieties; however, if it is well thinned produces large fruits in spite of the early ripening period; the taste is quite good.
- STARK RED GOLD (+20): variety of nectarines with a good production level, large fruits, round and red on the 50-70% of the surface on a yellow background. Their flesh is yellow, slightly red next to the stone, very firm, freestone and tasty. It is the most cultivated nectarine in Italy, even though the introduction of better late varieties reduced its diffusion.
- MARIA AURELIA: variety of nectarines with large fruits, round-elongated. Their skin is red, while the flesh is yellow, veined with red, firm, freestone and very tasty. It is a variety of nectarines quite suitable to organic farming because it is not very sensible to Taphrina deformans.
- SWEET RED: variety of nectarines with a medium vigorous tree and a huge production level. The fruits are quite large (average weight of about 250 gr) and round-elongated. The flesh is yellow, freestone and the taste is good and balanced. It ripens between the second and the third decade of August.
- PERCOCHE PEACHES
- ROMEA: first percoche peaches according to the ripening period. This variety is vigorous and has a very good production level. Fruits are mediun or medium-large with a yellow-orange, firm and tasty flesh suitable for the fresh consumption. The skin is yellow-green covered with a flat red.
- CARSON: excellent variety of percoche peaches. Early-medium cultivar with a high level of production. Fruits are medium with a yellow skin blushed with light red; their flesh is yellow, firm and tasty. The plant is quite sensible to early frosts.
- ANDROSS: vigorous and productive variety of peaches, whose fruits are medium-large. Their skin is yellow-light orange. The flesh is light yellow, fine, very firm. Ripening: first 15 days of August.
- JUNGHERMANN: late cultivar with a medium-high level of production. Fruits are sub-round with a yellow skin speckled with red. The flesh is light orange, firm, with a sweet, flavoured and balanced taste.