August is National Peach Month
By Diego Flammini
All August, people are celebrating National Peach Month.
The peach tree originated in China as early as 6000 BC, and the fruit was mentioned in Chinese writings dating back to the 10th century.
George Minifie, an English horticulturist, is credited with bringing peaches to the U.S. in the 17th century before commercial production began in the 19th century.
Now that you’ve had that little history lesson, grab a peach and enjoy these 10 fun facts about the fruit!
- Top peach producers
The top five peach-producing countries in the world in 2017 were:
- China – 14 million tons
- Spain – 1.5 million tons
- Italy – 1.4 million tons
- United States – 927,000 tons
- Iran - 863,000 tons
- Symbolic fruit
In Chinese mythology, the peach is an emblem of Shou Xing, the god of longevity. Some brides in China decorate their hair with peach flowers for their wedding ceremonies. In Korea, the peach is believed to have powers to drive spirits away.
Because of those powers, people are advised to keep the fruit away when honouring ancestors.
- Fruit of phrases
The saying “You’re a real peach” originated from the tradition of giving a peach to someone you liked. The term “peachy keen” can be used to let someone know that everything is outstanding.
- Song subject
The peach has been the theme of many popular songs. In 1996, The Presidents of the United States of America released arguably their most popular song titled “Peaches.”
The song is about a boy sitting under a peach tree waiting for his crush to arrive so he share his feelings.
- A peach by another name
Before peaches were called peaches, people referred to them as Persian apples. That’s because ancient Romans believed the fruit was from Persia (Iran). The Romans introduced the fruit to the Europeans, who eventually brought it to North America.
- Popular hero
The name of a Japanese folk hero Momotarō translates to Peach Boy. It’s said he came to earth in a giant peach and was found by a woman and her husband when they tried to open the peach to eat it.
- Twin to nectarine
Peaches and nectarines are the exact same fruit. The only difference is a peach has a fuzzy exterior and a nectarine’s skin is smooth.
- Calming fruit
In Hungary, peaches are considered the fruit of calmness. It’s believed a natural sedative found in the fruit can help relieve stress, anxiety and promote sound sleep.
- Poetry subject
Some poets have published works about the summer fruit. Li-Young Lee’s poem “From Blossoms” talks about purchasing a peach from a roadside stand. He details how eating and touching the peach makes someone become attached to the fruit.
- War starter
In 1655, a Native American girl entered Henry Van Dyck’s orchard in a Dutch colony near New Jersey. She climbed a tree and picked a peach. Van Dyck shot the girl, setting in motion a response from the Susquehannock Nation and other Native Americans.
The Peach Tree War resulted in the death of 100 Dutch soldiers and the capture of another 150.
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