Contender – A hybrid of ‘Summercrest’ x ‘Redhaven’, released in 1987 by the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station. Trees produce non-showy blossoms. Harvest season begins Aug. 8 to Aug. 15. This is a very attractive yellow flesh variety with good size (2.5 to 3.0 inches in diameter). Seventy five to 90% of the surface is colored red. The flesh is light yellow and aromatic, and flavor is very good. The fruit is fairly round and the suture is slightly raised and soft. Fruit ripen uniformly. This variety produces many flower buds (thinning may be required), crops well most years and is moderately resistant to bacterial spot. Zones 4-8.
Challenger – An excellent peach variety that is disease-resistant, has a relatively high chilling requirement (950), is early to mid season ripening, cold hardy buds and has consistent cropping. Not only is the tree tough, but the freestone yellow fruit have an excellent flavor and texture. This variety is an offspring of the old Redhaven peach. Ripens mid to late July. Zones 5-7.
Intrepid – An excellent yellow peach variety producing large crops of large, firm, freestone fruit. The tree and buds are very hardy even to temps of -20°F, with a chill requirement of 1050 chill hours. Flower bud survival and fruit set are usually very high, so heavy thinning may be required to obtain lareg fruit size. Ripens in mid to late August. Zones 4-8.
Carolina Gold – A new release from the NCSU breeding program. ‘Carolina Gold’ flowers 1-2 days before ‘Contender’, making it one of the latest flowering commercial peach cultivars commercially available; the chilling requirement to satisfy dormancy is about 1050 hours below 45°F. Late flowering reduces the risk of freeze injury to flower buds in late winter and early spring. Fruit of ‘Carolina Gold’ are very large, with many fruit commonly attaining three inches in diameter when properly thinned. Because of its moderate to high flower bud number, heavy thinning is required in years of little natural fruit thinning from freeze events. ‘Carolina Gold’ fruit are yellow fleshed. Flesh color and quality (texture, flavor, and aroma) are excellent. Fruit flesh is resistant to oxidative browning. Fruit are firm, similar to ‘Contender’. The exterior of the fruit is covered with about equal amounts of a bright red overcolor and a golden yellow ground color. Foliage of ‘Carolina Gold’ is relatively resistant to bacterial spot disease. Flowers are pink and non-showy. Pollen is abundant, and trees are self-fertile. Zones 4-8.
China Pearl – An excellent white peach variety producing very large freestone fruit with excellent quality. China Pearl is a relatively recent NCSU variety release offering a very high chilling hour requirement of 1100 hours, making it one of the latest flowering commercial peach varieties available. This variety produces many flower buds; therefore, thinning may be needed to maintain fruit size. Fruit quality has been rated as outstanding for this variety. Zones 4-8.
Compiled by: Stanley R. Holloway, 2006