Orchard Update: Red Haven Peach Harvest!

Red Haven peaches at harvest.

A great day here at the farm. We managed to fight off some very determined squirrels, rats, birds and raccoons (and maybe coyotes) and get a real peach harvest. Our first tree to ripen gave us a few large, tasty peaches, but the animals dug under the nets and took the rest. Frustrating, but a good lesson. The tree we harvested today had most of the peaches, so we were able to augment the nets with wood and rocks until the peaches ripened. And we got a great haul of Red Haven Peaches! It’s been a few years coming and it was great fun to pick the peaches with the kids (although they found out picking fruit in the sun is real work).

Red Haven trees are big producers.

Weighting the nets kept the varmints from digging underneath.

The haul from one small tree- a few hundred peaches about 1/2 the size of a baseball.

As for the Red Haven peaches, they are one of the most common “eating” peaches. They are freestone peaches with a bright, sweet flavor and a decent amount of acidity. They are popular with farmers and home gardeners, as the trees are heavy producers and the peaches have a long “shelf life”. Red Havens are in season usually from mid-July until the end of August. We like these peaches a lot, but the Suncrests are still our favorites. But as we have a harvest of just one Suncrest peach, the Red Havens will be our focus this summer- at least until the nectarines ripen a few weeks from now.

Our “lonely” Suncrest peach. Hopefully more next year.

Nectarines are at least a week or two out. Hopefully our augmented nets hold up.

So what we will do with all of these peaches? We are making peach-lavender jam, peach-vanilla ice cream, maybe peach butter and certainly a batch of Bellinis and other peach-driven cocktails. And we are already eating the peaches out of hand. But as much of the Putney Farm crew will be on the road for the next few weeks, we will give many of these away. Few things make us happier as gardeners than to have enough to share freely with friends.

Time to get to work….

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28 thoughts on “Orchard Update: Red Haven Peach Harvest!

  1. Personally I prefer smaller peaches. The gigundo peaches I see in the supermarket are too big. I like cute and furry animals but when they get at my garden I just want to wring their little necks.

    • Funny, we like the animals as long as they stay away from our fruit. In reality, they almost always win, we just keep enough to be happy…we need our hawks to do a better job ;-)

      • Hawks are few and far between around here this year. But they wouldn’t help my problem. My problem is stray cats. It would take a pretty big hawk to haul them away! I used to have rabbit problems but like you say, it must be the hawks that took care of them. With the record heat, it’s a wonder anything survives outside.

  2. Peach butter is one of my very favorite preserves and I can’t think of anything better than to make it with homegrown peaches! I’m looking forward to your Bellini post. Enjoy the harvest! :)

    • Thanks- there certainly was a wait (nature does most of the work). But last year the squirrels / rats got every single peach, and made my kids cry, so this year is a big improvement!

  3. I am jealous! I just planted my orchard this year and keep telling my wife “oh yeah we’ll get some fruit next year” little does she realize that next year will be this year when we get there. But I am really looking forward to a couple years from now when I can make a post like yours, Good Job!

    • Thanks and good luck. It is worth it when you get there (it took us 4 years for a real crop).Orchards are a test of patience, but are very special.

    • Thanks, a very pleasant surprise with the yield on the cherries and peaches this year. Both basically single trees that got very happy.

      But we have a lot of small peaches, instead of fewer big ones, because we got lazy and only thinned one tree. We are not complaining, but peeling small peaches to make jam is a lot more work.. ;-)

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