Because southern New England has a sufficiently mild climate, peaches grow quite well here.  In the Berkshires, peaches grown in the valleys are susceptible to late spring frosts, which will knock out the crop.  This is also a problem with apples.  Consequently most orchards are on the top slopes of hills.  This seems slightly counter-intuitive (higher equals colder) but it is late spring frost which is the threat, not the actual winter temperatures.  The upper slopes of hills generally have more air movement, this helps to avoid the very late frosts which occur in the valleys as cold air settles over night.  The actual meteorology is not something I understand, but it works!

In any case, our peach tree is on the top of a hill and immediately south of the house.  The house’s proximity creates a zone 6 microclimate for it (and two new clematis), since the wall has a fair bit of solar gain and the wind is cut by the surrounding buildings.*

Despite a chronic and severe infection with one of the wilts, which makes picking the fruit less than romantic;* we always get a fair number of peaches.  I don’t have the guts to thin the peaches like I should, so they are always small.  This year, I have frozen three pies, the makings for at least five cobblers, and we canned 6 and half quarts.  Plus eating a number, and there are still plenty left.  Not bad, considering that distractions and poor weather meant we didn’t do as good a job in the picking/canning/freezing as we ought to have.

*Yes, I know they reclassified us as zone 6…and some years we are, and most years a zone 5 and once in awhile zone 4.  Zone 6 plants do not overwinter here unless they are on the south side of the house.  Zone 5 plants do.  I suspect the plants are more accurate than the map makers.

*The peaches that get infected literally turn to balls of mold on the tree.  Fun.