Forget Georgia: Why you can’t beat Jersey-fresh peaches
Following a spring of topsy-turvy weather for New Jersey peach growers, the news is better.
State Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray says peach buds were teased in early spring by unusually warm weather. Then a run of cold spring weather in April. There was fear the premature budding would harm the fruit in its formative stages.
"We were very worried in the beginning," but, according to Murray, "we really have not had any major lingering damage effects. We believe that we got through this OK."
We asked Murray to compare the Garden State peach with that world-famous Georgia peach. His answer was somewhat predictable.
"Our peaches are grown within 250 miles of approximately 45 million consumers. That is significant, because peaches that are grown closer to the market have a higher sugar and acid ratio, making for better quality. So you want to pick a Jersey peach when you are living this close to the state, as opposed to something that has been shipped a thousand miles."
New Jersey grows peaches on 4,600 acres, fourth in the nation in peach production.
Experts say this will be an average year for Jersey peaches.
"You are going to see commercial varieties start to come in right around now."
But Murray hastens to add, "the peaches that are out there are going to be large, they are going to be delicious and they are going to be wonderful."
Murray says that next week, we will start seeing volumes being shipped, and by July 15, we are really going to start getting into gear as far as peaches are concerned. He says the month of August is really big with peaches, and we are going to have them until about mid-September.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at Joe.Cutter@townsquaremedia.com