There is no better way to pick a peach (and spend a day) than tasting peaches at your local farmers market. More than 300 varieties are grown in North America alone, but the main thing to know about a peach is whether it's yellow or white flesh and clingstone, freestone, or semi-freestone.
Yellow Flesh Peaches
White Flesh Peaches
Clingstone peaches have flesh that clings to their pits. They are softer, sweeter, and juicier than freestone peaches and hence sought after for canning and preserving (commercially canned peaches are all clingstones). They are great for baking. One advantage of shopping for peaches at farmers markets is that you can sometimes find clingstones. Most grocery stores only carry freestones.
The clingstone peach season ranges from May to August.
Freestones peaches' flesh does not stick to their pits, so they are preferred for eating out-of-hand. They tend to be larger and less juicy than clingstones. They bake and preserve well, too.
Freestone peaches come in many varieties with seasons ranging from May to October.