Hands down, our peaches are the best in Palisade. Here's why:
1) Our farmers', Trent and Carolyn Cunningham, knowledge of the trees, soil, water, and climate has been passed down through three generations. And they are constantly researching and implementing better, organic-style growing methods.
2) Only one person ever touches your peaches...the person who picked it. Other orchards pick into bushel baskets and take them to a sorting shed where they are boxed, which means the peaches must be picked early (unripe) to prevent bruising. The Cunninghams take their boxes to the trees and pick into the boxes, allowing maximum tree-ripening for the peaches. The longer the fruit is on the tree, the sweeter and more flavorful it is.
3) The Cunninghams hire professional peach pickers from South America. These skilled workers know how to choose only the best peaches from the tree just by looking at them. They are highly skilled to gently pick and handle the peaches without bruising their delicate flesh.
4) Unlike other orchards, only the best peaches are picked, leaving the rest to fall to the ground and provide natural nutrients for the soil in the coming year.
5) While not certified organic (due to the cost, burdensome regulations, and paperwork) the Cunningham's peaches are grown employing a number of organic methods. They include composting for fertilizer and limited spraying of a diluted, grape-derived insecticide--used only when absolutely necessary, and allowing good insects (earwigs) to help eliminate bad insects (aphids and mites). Even smelly pheromone clips are used to confuse peach tree eating moths and stop them from reproducing.
Finally, there are a few things that are endemic to most, if not all peaches (and produce) grown on the western slope that enhance the flavor of their peaches.
- Mineral-rich volcanic soil in which they are grown
- Clean mountain water
- the area's climate
(Because they only have one growing season, the sugars and flavors develop over a long period of time. The longer the fruit grows to ripeness on the tree, the better the flavor and texture it will have.)