Origin and History
Irish Peach is an unusual find for us in Stamford. This early dessert apple was reputed to have been growing at County Sligo's Longford House as far back as 1500 and was originally named Early Crofton after the family who lived there.
In 1819 John Robertson, a nurseryman from Kilkenny, exhibited the renamed Irish Peach at the Horticultural Society of London, where its sweet but tangy flavour made it an immediate success. Robertson was something of a horticultural pioneer and an early proponent of soot and liquid manure as fertilisers.
The variety took its new name from its peach-like appearance and was quite widely grown around London and in Kent, but eventually fell out of favour as it neither travels nor stores well.
The fruit is medium in size and round in shape, with a flattish base and defined broad ribbing. The skin is smooth, thin and greenish-yellow with dark red stripes and flecks of grey russeting. The side that catches the sun usually develops a dull red flush. The flesh is juicy, quite soft and white with light yellow veining. It is very fragrant and so sweet that according to renowned Victorian pomologists Drs Hogg and Bull 'it readily ferments on the ground ... intoxicating the wasps and bees.'
Picking, Storing and Using
In 1830 The Gardener's Magazine described Irish Peach as 'among the best table apples of August'. Like a peach it is best eaten straight from the tree, becoming soft and dry if stored.
Growth, Flowering and Pollination
The tree is hardy and crops heavily, even on cold and exposed sites. It is moderately vigorous and spreading in habit and in spring the crimson buds open into white blossom tinged with pink. Good pollinators include Egremont Russet, Lord Lambourne and James Grieve.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018