A sweet and fragrant peach that's ripe enough to drip juice down your chin is one of the joys of summer. Native to China, peaches of legend conferred immortality and were treasured by ancient Emperors. In the early 17th century a horticulturist by the name of George Minifie is said to have brought the first peaches from England to the United States, planting peach trees at his Estate of Buckland in Virginia.
Peaches now grow throughout the world’s temperate regions, but find a uniquely suited home in Brentwood’s Mediterranean climate. Farmer Al long ago adopted the Cal Red as the farm’s signature peach, a unique variety that has become the favorite of discerning peach lovers across the country. We grow over twelve varieties of peaches that are harvested from mid-June to early September.
A newly producing variety at Frog Hollow, with the right weather, the Rich Zee has been known to beat our cherries off the tree in mid-May! The Rich Zee is an excellent early variety to whet the appetite for summer peaches. It is much smaller than later varieties, and is more of a 'water' peach than a 'sugar' peach, but a big crowd pleaser at the farmers markets. It has a strong fragrance, a gentle flavor, and tender, juicy flesh. Rich Zee peaches are available mid to late May.
The Crimson Lady is one of the first varieties off the tree. It has a firm texture that is more springy than meltingly juicy and where some palates may find it less desirable for eating out of hand, when dried it is uniquely chewy and delicious. Crimson Lady peaches are available mid to late June.
The Gold Dust is one of our favorites and the first outstanding peach of the season for eating out of hand. An heirloom variety, it is low in acid and smaller than most of our peaches. Its juicy, melting texture and sweetness can hardly be beat. Gold Dusts are available mid to late June.
A classic California peach, the Flavorcrest has a beautiful crimson red blush over bold yellow skin. Its a well-known peach whose attractiveness and bold sweetness makes it the third most widely planted fresh-market peach in California. Flavorcrests at Frog Hollow enjoy more time on the branch to fully develop their distinctive sweetness. Flavorcrests are available late June to early July.
A Slow Food Ark heritage variety, the Suncrest has all the old-fashioned taste of days gone by. Its a truly memorable peach whose firm but juicy flesh provides a real eat-over-the-sink experience. Gently tapered, the Suncrest has hardly any blush to speak of on its rich yellow skin. A more fragile variety, the Suncrest bruises easily when picked, but as many of our farmers market customers know, a picking bruise means the fruit is extra delicious. Suncrests are available early to mid-July.
The big, bold Red Top lives up to its name and is almost fully blushed red over yellow. One of the first freestone varieties of the season, its flesh is consistently firm and sweet. With its unique coloration and ease of slicing, the Red Top is especially well-suited for presentation. Red Tops are available early July.
Renowned horticulturist Floyd Zaiger is responsible for many of our favorite varieties, and the Zee Lady is another Zaiger gem. The Zee Lady is a good sized peach that's a real beauty, with a vibrant red blush dusted over a warm golden skin. Another freestone, the Zee Lady's juicy flesh is as great for baking as it is eating out of hand. Zee Lady peaches are available mid to late July.
The Summer Lady is a variety that developed naturally in a commercial orchard in Fresno and was discovered in 1982. An early-ripening variant of the O'Henry, it is similarly well-balanced and aromatic. Slightly more round and uniform than its O'Henry parentage, the Summer Lady has deep burgundy streaks at maturity and delights our tastebuds almost a full two weeks earlier. Summer Lady peaches are available in late July.
Yellow-fleshed peaches are more popular in the United States, but the allure of an excellent white-fleshed variety like the Opal can't be denied. Very low in acid, the Opal's sweetness comes across two-fold. A beautiful dessert peach, the Opal has a delicate pink blush to its skin and mild flesh with a hint of vanilla. Opal peaches are available in late July to early August.
Farmer Al's favorite peach to grill, the O'Henry has the flavor, size, and crimson blush that makes for a truly memorable peach. It's elegantly pointed shape slices to an attractive heart shape for striking presentation. Our O'Henry harvest overlaps briefly--a few days to a week--with our harvest of the Cal Red leading to a matchup of two of our biggest varieties. At participating farmers markets, our Battle of the Peaches taste-offs between these two varieties grows more and more popular each year. O'Henry peaches are available in late July to mid-August.
True to its name, the August Flame has a bright red blush on skin ranging from warm yellow to orange. A popular late-season peach for growers, it's as delicious as it is attractive. A freestone with little fuzz, the August Flame is excellent to slice up for use in a fresh tart or other open-faced pastry. August Flames are available in early to late August.
Another late maturing freestone, the August Lady has a rich red color and crisp flesh. A natural descendant of the Summer Lady, the August Lady doesn't much resemble its O'Henry ancestry and has its own unique qualities. With a short harvest, it's a joy to eat side by side with our other August varieties. August Lady peaches are available in mid-August.
The beloved Cal Red is in a class by itself and is the "Oh my God" peach! A relatively new variety and a California native, the Cal Red was bred by University of California botanist Claron O. Hesse in the mid 1960s. Aptly named for the Golden State, the Cal Red is a beautiful golden peach marked with a gentle, sun-kissed blush. Our best-selling variety, Cal Red fans mark their calendars to eagerly await harvest each year. Some years the Cal Red has a harvest window as brief as two weeks, leaving a huge impression for a peach with such fleeting availability. Cal Red peaches are available in mid to late August.
The Summerset matures into a very large peach, some weighing in at more than two pounds! Bright yellow with hardly no blush to speak of, the Summerset is a freestone that boasts a bold flesh that has a strong peach flavor. Sweet and juicy but with a tart, acidic bite, it makes for a nice contrast as a follow-up to the extremely sweet Cal Red. The Summerset has a nicely firm texture that freezes well and is a favorite of ours to bake with. Summerset peaches are available in late August to early September.
While our late-season Summerset has more of a nectarine tang to it, the Autumn Flame brings the peach harvest to a close with a truly nostalgic peach sweetness. The Autumn Flame is naturally more firm, but softens beautifully if aged properly on the kitchen counter. It becomes almost as meltingly soft as a Gold Dust if left to enjoy until the skin begins to wrinkle slightly. Autumn Flame peaches are available in early to late September.