The history of Peaches
The fruit of PEACH is also called pomo persico or Persian pomo: in fact, the origin of the Italian name "pesca" (peach) comes from the latin abbreviation of “persica or persicum”, which literally means Persian fruit. Also the name PERCOCA, given to certain varieties of peaches, used above all for the industrial processing into syrups and peach jam, comes from the latin PRAECOQUUS, which means early fruit. Even though for many years people have believed that peaches were native to Persia (modern-day Iran), today it is acknowledged that the peach is a tree native to Western China, of which there is evidence already in the II century b. C., just before the advance of the Roman army into the modern-day Iran. In China, the peach tree is still today considered a symbol of immortality, while, in Egypt, peaches were considered sacred to Harpocrates, god of silence and of childhood and in fact, still today, children’s cheeks are compared to peaches, for their softness and fleshiness.
According to the Latin literature, peaches were brought in Italy, and in particular to Rome, in the I century A.D. Thanks to Alexander the Great, peaches were brought, almost at the same time and independently in France and in all the Mediterranean basin. In fact, in the Middle Ages, France became the second major point of origin of this species, after China.
According to Rutililius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius, famous Latin writer, Julian the Apostate, the Roman Emperor who was pagan, ordered to cut down the peach trees in all the imperial lands, because of the Bible’s dictum in which was said the Jesus had taken refuge under a peach tree with the family while escaping from the Egypt. In the Christian symbology, in fact, peaches represent salvation and are depicted in paintings with the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus.
The peach was brought to the American continent in two different waves: the first was led by the Spaniards, starting in Central America from the first half of the 16th century, while the second wave was a direct import from China in the mid-1850s.
Since 1800 ahead, peaches had an increasingly success and today are counted among the fresh fruits with the major number of varieties produced and traded in the international fruit and vegetable market. Nowadays, there are really many companies that produce peaches, certified companies for the production of peaches, producers of peaches, companies that produce organic peaches, companies that deal with the trade of peaches (packaging of fruit and vegetable products, fourth range peaches), retailers of peaches, importers of peaches, exporters of peaches, wholesalers of peaches.