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A forum for growing fruits and rare tropical and temperate fruits, and tending our orchards

Carman is a peach par excellence

Postby scottfsmith » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:18 am

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My Carman peach is fruiting for the first time this year .. what a peach! I think I have finally found the midseason white peach I have been looking for all these years. It tastes just about as good as the wonderful Silver Logan, and for me the most important attribute is its lack of rot and complete freedom from peach scab or bacterial spot. The only downside is the fruits are a bit small, and I expect the productivity will not be that great since it is an heirloom fruit. I have tried many white peaches. All the modern ones I tried are very much lacking in the flavor I want: Stark Summer Pearl, Raritan Rose, Carolina Belle, etc were all supposed to be very tasty but they were nothing compared to my Silver Logan or Oldmixon Free. Carman is the first peach to reach this level. Oldmixon Free is just as good but is very late, coming in September. Silver Logan rotted horribly and I had to remove it. Here is the Peaches of New York description, it captures this peach well.

Scott

CARMAN

Among the many white-fleshed peaches of recent introduction, few hold a more conspicuous place than Carman. Possibly its chief asset is a constitution which enables it to withstand trying climates, both north and south, and to accommodate itself to a great variety of soils. Thus, we find Carman a very general favorite in nearly every peach-region on this continent. Besides its cosmopolitan constitution, there is much merit in the fruits especially for a peach ripening so early. While of but medium size (the color-plate does not do justice in showing the size of Carman) the peaches are most pleasing in appearance. The color is a brilliant red splashed with darker red on a creamy-white background. The shape is nearly round and the trimness and symmetry of the contour make the variety, especially when packed in box or basket, one scarcely surpassed in attractiveness of form. Carman is rated as very good in quality for a peach of its season though a smack of bitterness in its mild, sweet flavor condemns it for some. The habit of growth is excellent, peaches are borne abundantly, brown-rot takes comparatively little toll and in tree or bud the variety is remarkably hardy. All in all, Carman is one of the most useful peaches of its class and season for either home or commercial planting.

Carman grew from a seed planted in 1889 by J. W. Stubenrauch, Mexia, Texas. The tree fruited in 1892 and its earliness and freedom from rot so pleased Mr. Stubenrauch that he at once began propagating the new variety, naming it Pride of Texas. Later, in 1894, the name was changed to Carman in honor of the late E. S. Carman, long eiitor of the Rural New Yorker. In 1909 the American Pomological Sadety added Carman to its list of fruits as one of its recommended varieties.

Tree large, vigorous, spreading or somewhat upright, open-topped, hardy, very productive; trunk thick; branches stocky, smooth, bright red overspread with ash-gray; branch-lets Ion , olive-green overspread with dark red, glabrous, smooth, glossy, with numerous small, inconspicuous lenticels. Leaves five and seven-eighths inches long, one and three-fourths inches wide, folded upward, oval to obovate-lanceolate; upper surface dark green, smooth; lower surface light grayish-green; margin finely serrate, tipped with dark red glands; petiole one-fourth inch long, with three to five reniform glands medium in size and variable in position and color.

Flower-buds oval, pointed, plump, heavily pubescent, appressed; blossoms open in mid-season; flowers one and one-fourth inches across, pink; pedicels short, glabrous, pale green; calyx-tube dull reddish-green, speckled, yellowish-green within, campanulate, glabrous; calyx-lobes short, acute to obtuse, glabrous within, heavily pubescent without; petals oval to ovate, with distinct notches near the base, tapering to narrow, white claws of medium length; filaments three-eighths inch long, shorter than the petals; pistil pubescent near the base, shorter than the stamens.

Fruit matures early; about two and one-fourth inches in diameter, round-oval, compressed, with unequal sides, bulged near the apex; cavity abrupt or flaring, tinged with pink and with tender skin; suture shallow, becoming deeper at the cavity; apex roundish or depressed, with a somewhat pointed or mucronate tip; color creamy-white more or less overspread with light red, with splashes of darker red; pubescence very thick, short; skin thin, tough, adherent to the pulp; flesh white, red at the pit, juicy, tender, sweet, mild, pleasant flavored; very good in quality; stone nearly free, about one and one-half inches long, one inch wide, oval, plump, with thickly-pitted surfaces; ventral suture deeply grooved along the edges, thick, furrowed and winged; dorsal suture deeply grooved.

Re: Carman is a peach par excellence

Postby Ashok » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:12 pm

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Scott,

Very interesting! Outside of institutions, I bet that there are only a handful of folks in the U.S. who have gone as far as you in terms of growing/trialling old peaches -- people like Todd K, Andy M., and their regional equivalents.

My attempts at peach multi-grafting have been, on the whole, an abysmal failure, so I am considering growing out some rootstocks so that I can actually try some of the peach cultivars you have written about!

Re: Carman is a peach par excellence

Postby scottfsmith » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:44 am

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Ashok, discovering how fantastic the heirloom peaches are has been one of the biggest rewards of all of my various fruit projects. The only puzzle is why more people are not interested in them, everyone wants to grow an heirloom apple but few people have an interest in the old peaches. I don't really care if a peach is old or new, I just want a good one. Initially I assumed the modern peaches were probably the best, I didn't even grow many heirlooms at first, but looking at row after row of heirloom apples I put in I felt guilty and so put in a couple heirloom peaches. While some of them proved to be not all that interesting (Georgia Belle, Lemon Free and Veteran for example), a few really blew my socks off. For the case of the white peaches, I have to say I have not found a single modern white peach with a good amount of flavor in it. They are perfectly fine in terms of a sweet/tart, but only the older ones have other interesting flavors in them. There are some very good modern yellow-fleshed peaches, and many great modern nectarines, its mainly on the white/honey/red-flesh peaches that the heirlooms win. Even for the yellow peaches I find Foster to be a notch better than any modern one, it has a better-balanced flavor. And, some of the old yellow ones such as St. John have unique flavors (apricot in this case) which none of the modern ones have, all of which are relatively close together in flavor (as well as in genes).

Scott

Re: Carman is a peach par excellence

Postby fruitnut » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:14 am

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Scott:

Which 3-4 would you recommend for my situation where disease and insects aren't an issue? And if you'd be kind enough where could I buy them. Right now I have only Baby Crawford.

Thank you!

Re: Carman is a peach par excellence

Postby scottfsmith » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:34 am

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Fruitnut, if disease is not a problem I would get a Silver Logan white peach, it is similar to Carman in taste but is huge in size -- eye popping! It also bears more heavily. I would get an Indian Free red-fleshed peach. This guy has rot issues for me but is otherwise reliable and productive. Its on the small size but I just love that flavor ("cranberry phenolics" is how I heard an expert describe it). For the third one I would say either Foster or St. John. Neither of these has a commercial source however so some grafting would be needed. If you don't want to graft I would get an Early Crawford, its very similar to and nearly as good as Foster. Note that Baby Crawford is in fact a modern peach. I haven't found it as good as the Early Crawford, but my samples of it have been limited. Arboreum.biz, Dave Wilson sources, and Trees of Antiquity sell these varieties.

Scott

Re: Carman is a peach par excellence

Postby fruitnut » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:56 am

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Thanks Scott, I have all the confidence in your choices. This fall I hope you will give a rundown of all your favorites across the board.


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