RALEIGH, N.C. — The first day of summer may be right around the corner, but fresh N.C. peaches are already available at farmers markets and roadside stands across the state. While not a bumper crop, local growers do expect to have plenty of peaches through Labor Day.
“North Carolina grows more than two dozen varieties of peaches,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Growers are harvesting clingstone peaches now and will begin harvesting freestone varieties later this month. No matter which you prefer, peach lovers should be able to find plenty of peaches this summer.”
Most of the peaches grown in North Carolina are sold directly to consumers at peach orchards, roadside stands and farmers markets. N.C. peaches are tree-ripened when harvested giving them a fresher and sweeter taste than store-bought peaches. While the majority of peaches are grown in the Sandhills, consumers can find peach orchards in about two-thirds of the state’s counties.
This year, growers are taking special precautions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Roadside stands have required employees to wear protective gear such as masks and gloves. In addition, many growers have installed protective plastic shields at their registers to protect consumers.
To find local peach orchards near you, go to www.buyncpeaches.com.
–Dexter Hill, NCDA&CS