Paul Friday and The Giant Flamin’ Fury Peach

With peach season in full swing, you may be finding some very large, heavy peaches out in the orchard.  That might get you wondering, “How heavy can peaches get? What’s the world record for world’s heaviest peach?”

Paul Friday can tell you. Paul, the inventor of the beloved Flamin’ Fury series of peaches and nectarines, holds the world record for world’s heaviest peach. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records.  He grew this record-breaking peach on his Michigan farm. He not only grew it, he had developed the variety: the Flamin’ Fury PF 24-007.

So, how big was it? Drum roll please… it weighed in at nearly two pounds! It was 725 grams, to be exact–about five times as heavy as the average peach.

Eventually, word got around about this peach. In 2010, Paul Friday received a call from the David Letterman show. They asked him to bring his record-breaking peach along with him when he appeared on the show. Here’s how he responded:

letterman

Even if Letterman missed his chance to share that particular peach, people around the world have been enjoying the large, sweet, flavorful, hardy peaches that Paul Friday has spent the last thirty years developing.

Thirty years ago, Paul was “not happy with Michigan peaches,” and decided to improve their quality. He wanted to improve just about everything about them: better flavor, size, hardiness and disease resistance.

As he bred and patented new varieties, he was not only able to raise the bar for Michigan peaches, but also to extend the growing season by about one month.

To understand how he did that, it’s important to recognize that Flamin’ Fury is not technically one variety of peach, the way Honeycrisp is one variety of apple. Rather, Flamin’ Fury is a series of closely related peaches with a group of recognizable characteristics. There are Flamin’ Fury varieties that ripen two weeks earlier and two weeks later than other varieties. Altogether, Paul Friday’s thirty-seven patented varieties have a fifteen-week season.

Yellow Peaches

Yellow Peaches

Paul Friday takes great pride in the peaches he has cultivated over the past thirty years, and he has enjoyed the work of cultivating them. He appreciates “the fantastic dimension added to my life in working with so many wonderful people.” He has connected with people at research universities and individual growers. “They are good personal friends I would never have had otherwise.”

A small piece of Paul Friday’s abundant life’s work comes to fruition at Weaver’sOrchard.  The Flamin’ Fury peaches are now ripe! Currently, Weaver’s grows six Flamin’ Fury peach varieties and one Flamin’ Fury nectarine variety.  Weaver’s purchased Flamin’ Fury peaches directly from Paul Friday Farms before Flamin’ Fury were licensed to other nurseries. Ed Weaver, Weaver’s Orchard President, comments that he admires Paul Friday’s dedication to the genetics of peach trees: “He keeps developing new and better varieties,” says Ed.

Quarts of Peaches

Weaver’s even grows the famous PF 24-007, so, who knows! Maybe someday you will be the one to find a record-breaking peach!

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