Although its botanical name Prunus Persica suggests the peach is native to Persia, peaches actually originated in China, where they have been cultivated since the early days of Chinese culture. Peaches were cited in Chinese manuscripts dating as far back as the 1100 BC and were a favoured fruit of kings and emperors.
Its English name was derived originally from the Latin malum persicum, "Persian apple", which became the French pêche, then peach in Middle English
The peach was brought to India and Western Asia in ancient times. Alexander the Great introduced the fruit into Europe after he conquered the Persians. Then it was brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, and eventually made it to England and France in the 17th century, where it was a rare and prized treat.
The horticulturist George Minifie supposedly brought the first peaches from England to its North American colonies in the early 17th century, planting them at his Estate of Buckland in Virginia.
Various American Indian tribes are credited with spreading the peach tree across the United States, taking seeds along with them and planting as they roved the country.
Although Thomas Jefferson had peach trees at Monticello, United States farmers did not begin commercial production until the 19th century in Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and finally Virginia. California today grows 65% of peaches grown for commercial production in the United States, but the states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Washington also grow a significant amount. Italy, China, India and Greece are major producers of peaches outside of the United States.
Peaches should be stored at room temperature and refrigeration should be avoided as this can lessen the taste of the peach. Peaches do not ripen after being picked from the tree, so storing for ripening is not necessary.
Peaches are a good source of Vitamin C.
The United States provides about one-fourth (25%) of the world’s total supply of fresh peaches.
The peach is a member of the rose family and will have a sweet fragrance when ripe.
Peaches are the third most popular fruit grown in America.