Nowadays, China continues to be the leading producer of our preferred fruit. For the Chinese, the peach tree, called the Tao, is a symbol of prosperity, happiness and good fortune in addition to being the subject, along with its beautiful flowers, of many paintings, poems and folk tales. Not only for food, the peach tree was also used for ornamental purposes and was even cultivated in the gardens of the Chinese Emperors. In China, you can still find very old peach trees, such as the one found in Tibet, which is reputed to be more than 1,000 years old. It has extraordinary dimensions as it is 21 metres high and 10 metres in circumference.
From China, the cultivation of the peach moved to Persia and then arrived in Europe, probably by Alexander the Great who conquered the kingdom of Asia. The Italian name, pesca, derives naturally from the Latin word ‘persico’, which means Persian.
Peaches arrived in Rome in the first century B.C. as they were brought by the Greeks to the Mediterranean basin. Rutilius Taurus Emiliano Palladio, in the fourth century. A.D. said that Alexander the Great was very impressed by this tree when he saw it in the gardens of King Darius III during his campaign against Persia.
Today the cultivation of peaches (and nectarines) is widespread throughout the world. China remains the world’s largest producer with 10 million tons produced in 2010, followed by Italy with 1.6 million tons produced in the same year. In Italy, Emilia Romagna is the largest producer of peaches, followed by Campania, Piemonte, Puglia and Sicily.
China Production10.000.000 tons
Italian Production1.600.000 tons