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North Star Orchard

Peaches and Plums

We currently grow more than 30 varieties of peaches, 7 varieties of nectarines, and more than 50 varieties of plums. The following alphabetized list includes details of those varieties that have borne fruit. Those without any information are young trees, and we will update this list with information as it becomes available. Many varieties (especially peaches) have similar flavors, so we have only included more detailed notes here where there is something noteworthy to share about a particular variety. Please note that many of our fruit varieties are grown in very limited quantities, and may not be available at all farmer's market and CSA pickup locations.

Plums

Forget those icky, flavorless grocery-store plums, and open your mind (and tastebuds!) to the amazing variety of colors, shapes, flavors, and textures of locally-grown plums! You're likely to become addicted. A few of our plum varieties routinely show up at farmers' markets. Many of the varieties, however, are in relatively limited quantities, and will go into the CSA Fruit Share first.

Plums may remain at room temperature for a day or two at most; they soften quickly! To keep them longer, store plums in a bag in the refrigerator, and just pull them out as you need them to soften up. Some people prefer plums more firm and tart, but we feel the best tasting plum is one that has a bit of 'give' to it. Some varieties, such as Oullins Gage and Rosy Gage are best when quite soft. Experiment and enjoy!

AU Roadside

AU Rubrum

Mirabelle Plums

Bavay Gage

Beauty

Black Ruby

Bluebyrd: Blue, with excellent rich flavor. Delightfully sweet. Nice to use for fresh eating or in cooking. There's nothing tart about them. Late August

Bruce

Burbank

Byrongold: Yellow. These are a little on the tart side with a nice plumy flavor, but they get sweeter as they soften up.

Cambridge Gage

Castleton: Blue European plum. Nice plummy flavor. Good for eating or tossing in a recipe. Late August

Coe's Golden Drop: Very rich, sugar, almost dried apricot flavor.

Delicious: Caution: The juice in these is super-red and will make a mess of a light-colored shirt (or pants or dress or shoes!). Wear a bib to protect your clothes as you chow down on these tasty, luscious plums! Early September.

De Montfort

Earlimagic: Small and dark red, with very nice flavor. Asian. Early to mid-July

Early Golden: A beautiful yellow plum with pink blush. When soft, it is extremely juicy and sweet, although the skin is rather bitter. Free-stone variety

Early Laxton: Very sweet, rich flavor. Beautiful small plums.

Seneca Plums

Early Transparent

Early Wizzard

Elephant Heart

Empress: Very large(goose egg size), delicious European plum. Mid-September

Ersinger

Fortune: Large and very firm red Asian variety

Golden Transparent Gage

Gras Romanesque: An odd-looking little, round and wrinkly plum. Flavor is sweet, with tannic overtones. Quite addictive.

Green Gage

Howard Miracle

Imperial Epineuse: Early-season bluish-purple plum with fantastic rich flavor. Sweet through and through, these are a famous French variety. Can be eaten firm or soft. They may be Ike's favorite plum.

Jewel (Oushi Washi): The first plum to ripen of the season, it is small, red and very flavorful. There is no bitterness in the skin. Asian variety. Clingstone. Late June to early July.

Jubileum

Geneva Mirabelle: Very small yellow fruit you can eat like cherries.

Mirabelle de Metz: Very small and yellow. A traditional European variety used often in that area for plum tarts and other confections. Around here, we just tend to pop them in our mouths and eat them like cherries! (The tiny pits come out very easily)

Mirabelle de Nancy

Moldavian

Morris

Mount Royal: Small blue plum. These are great for cooking/tarts/etc. Of course, you can just eat them as well. Late August.

Oullins (or Oullins Gage): Yellowish/greenish and softer-to-the-touch than you think they should be. One of our favorite plums; don't let the green color throw you off. These have a delightful and addictive sweet flavor, from skin to pit. The softer they get, the richer the flavor is. Even when you think they're too soft, they'll be awesome! They just about are nearly tied with 'Rosy Gage' as our favorite.

Ozark Premiere

Pearl: Yellow European variety. Rather similar in appearance to Oullins, but they're more yellow. Excellent rich flavor; sweet through and through. Mid-August.

Pozeqaca

Purple Gage

Purpleheart: Small and dark purple, with outstanding flavor. Asian variety.

Queen Rosa

Redheart: Medium-sized with dark red flesh. Sweet plummy flavor, with a tart bite to the skin. Excellent Asian variety. Mid-August.

Rosy Gage: Color ranges from a speckly green to a speckly pink. One of our most favorite (and addictive) plums. 'Gage' plums have a certain flavor to them that just lingers and begs that you eat some more. They get sweeter the softer they are, but it takes no more than a day or two for them to develop their full, rich flavor and texture. Truly amazing. Late August.

Ruby Queen

Rubysweet

Satsuma

Schoolhouse: A yellow prune-type plum. Mid-September.

Seneca: Large, reddish-blue. Similar in flavor to Rosy Gage; in other words - awesome! Sweet, rich, addictive.

Simka: Very large and blue. Mild fruity flavor.

Spring Satin Plumcot

St. Catherine

Valor: Very late blue plum with rich and sugary flavor.

Vanette: Small and early, nicely-flavored European variety.

Vanier: Medium-sized red/yellow Asian variety. Very fruity, and they get sweeter as they soften up. Nice for fresh eating or to use in recipes. Mid- to late August.

Victoria: Red plum.

Victory: Blue plum with very intense flavor in dry growing seasons. Average flavor in a wet season.

Vision: Blue plum with very nice flavor.

Voyageur

Wickson

Yellow Egg

Yellow Peaches

Our yellow peach varieties are all in production. With a few exceptions (noted below), many peaches are too similar to each other to give accurate descriptions. Plus, depending on extreme wet or dry weather just prior to harvest, the same variety of peach may vary greatly in flavor and texture from year to year, or even from day to day! Your best bet? Ask us, when you're at the market, which is sweeter, firmer, peachier, or whatever you're looking for. We usually have a few varieties to choose from on any given day during the season.

Our peaches are picked tree ripe. So, while they start out firm, they will achieve the desired texture/softness in 1 to 3 days at room temperature. Please keep peaches in a fruit bowl or on the counter; there is no need to hide them away in a paper bag! To delay softening, store peaches in a bag in the refrigerator. While some people say peaches should never be refrigerated, we have found this only to be true with peaches that have been picked 'too green'. Many commercial orchards pick fruit much too early. Then, the fruit 'shuts down' when it is refrigerated, and further ripening does not occur. When picked tree-ripe, as our peaches are, the fruit continues the ripening process even when it is cold... although refrigeration does delay the process. You can refrigerate our peaches for a short period of time without losing much in the way of flavor or texture. It's certainly better to refrigerate a few, if you have too many, than to allow them to 'get ahead' of you at room temperature.

Blake

Challenger

Contendor Goldnine peaches

Coralstar

Earlystar

Encore

Enterprise: From our own fruit breeding program, Enterprise may be small, but the sweetness and peachy flavor make for a superior eating experience.

Ernie's Choice: Sometimes these have a goofy shape, but they've always been absolutely delicious. Lots of sweet and juicy peachy flavor here; Ernie definitely had good taste in peaches. The only thing we don't much like about this variety is that it tends to bruise very easily. But, with flavor like that, we'll take it!

Gala: A harbinger of freestone (ie. flesh doesn't stick to the pit) peach season! Delicious...

Glowingstar

Goldnine: One of our favorites, and it is truly unique. Goldnine has all of the flavor of a really great peach, but the flesh stays firm. This is a 'non melting' type that doesn't get really soft. Sounds weird, but it's mighty tasty! You can eat them right away, or let them sit in the fruit bowl for awhile, as they won't get super-sloppy soft like regular peaches. Late July

Intrepid

Jerseyglo

Jerseyqueen

John Boy

John Boy II

Laurol

Madison: Pale yellow outside. Don't be fooled by the pale color on these. Older varieties of peaches didn't have nearly the red blush that newer varieties do, but they had tons of flavor.

Margaret: A favorite from our own fruit breeding program. Margaret are fairly small, have a dark red skin and red streaks in a bright yellow flesh. Strong peachy flavor with a great sugar content that balances the flavors perfectly.

PF1 (AKA 'Early Gem'): The first peaches of the year! Clingstone and fairly small, but these have good flavor for such an early peach!

PF5B (AKA 'July Star')

PF15A (AKA 'Harvest Gem')

PF17 (AKA 'August Sun')

PF25

Redhaven: This was one of the first freestone peaches developed, and it has become a classic. We think other varieties taste better at this point, but this is a good part of the height of freestone peach season!

Redskin: Don't be fooled by the pale, not-too-red color on these. Older varieties of peaches didn't have nearly the red blush that newer varieties do, but they had tons of flavor. Back in the day, these were actually redder than most yellow peaches available in the market, hence the name 'Redskin'.

Sentry: Summer is here! Still an early clingstone (ripens after PF5B), but these peaches have it all....all the sweetness and great peach flavor. Big and beautifully colored, peaches just don't get much better than this!

Sweet N Up

Wonderful: A different kind of peen-to (donut) peach - it has non-melting flesh (similar to Goldnine)

White Peaches

Our white peaches are all in production, and are available at various markets and the CSA in smaller quantities than our yellow peaches. White peaches tend to be lower in acid than yellows. They have a sweeter, more delicate flavor than the peachy 'bite' that yellow peaches have. Again, ask us at market for specific recommendations.

China Pearl: Very pale; white to almost green with some red blush, white inside. This white peach always wins rave reviews from everyone. It can be so 'bleh' to look at, though. Let your family think that so you have them all for yourself! China Pearl have an amazing sweet flavor with a truly lovely lingering flavor. And the texture is to die for. Smooth and creamy - just incredible! As with most peaches, wait to try it until it has a bit of 'give'- maybe a day or two on the counter. We always have a limited supply of these, and we try to rotate them around from year to year to different CSA Fruit Share pickup locations. We're planting more though, so in a few years we'll have a larger supply.

Glacier

China Pearl Peaches

Klondike

Manon

September Snow

Snow Giant

Snow King

Snow Prince

Sugar Giant: SUGAR - and that's all I have to say about that.

Sugar May

White Lady

Yukon King

Nectarines

I had no idea how amazing nectarines could be! Our first crop of them in 2005 was a real eye-opener for me. I always figured that nectarines would just be like fuzzless peaches...but for whatever reason, they're even better than that. The flavor and juice is amazing, and the skin texture is awesome. We never have nearly enough of these to go around, though. CSA Fruit Share members definitely are the lucky ones here, as they get first dibs. While the 2009 crop was rather decimated by deer, we have gone to some lengths to make sure that doesn't happen again. Additionally, we are anxiously awaiting our new planting of nectarines to come into production over the next couple of years...so hopefully there will be more of these gems to go around!

Easternglo

SunGold Nectarines

Fantasia

Flavortop

Redgold

Summerbeaut

Sunglo

Yumm Yumm: a white-fleshed nectarine.

North Star Orchard • Ike & Lisa Kerschner
Email: Lisa@northstarorchard.com • Phone: (610)-593-0314
3226 Limestone Rd. • Cochranville, PA 19330
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