GLASSBORO, N.J. — New Jersey’s locally grown peaches are now available in supermarkets, community farmers markets and on farms, and New Jersey peach producers are celebrating a near-perfect growing season. This is one of the best Jersey-peach seasons in years, growers report to the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, the association representing the industry.
“The orchards got enough rain and sunshine, with no major late spring frost, to result in beautiful peaches with maximum size and flavor,” says Bonnie Lundblad, PPC chair. Lundblad is also sales representative of Sunny Valley International, New Jersey’s largest peach marketer.
“We had a good growing season and have peaches for wholesale and retail on our farm and in the farmers markets we supply,” says John Melick, owner of Melick’s Town Farms in Oldwick, Bridgewater and Califon. Pick you own peaches at the Califon farm, beginning July 4th.
“Ideal growing season,” says Santo John Maccherone, owner operator of Circle M Farms in Salem. “We have an abundant crop of excellent peaches, which we’ll be shipping in volume, under our Circle M label, by early July.” Maccherone also makes and bottles his own peach cider, which is available in many New Jersey specialty and farm markets.
New Jersey’s Jersey Fresh peaches are marketed and shipped throughout the northeast and Canada under the labels Jersey Fruit, Atlantic Sunrise, Top Crop, Circle M Farms, Just Picked, Melicks Town Farm, Nichols Orchard.
Pick-your-own peaches are also available at several farms throughout the state, including:
Alstede Farms–Chester; Demarest Farms–Hillsdale; Wightman Farms–Morristown; Battleview Orchards– Freehold; Giamarese Farm & Orchards–East Brunswick; Russo Farms-Tabeernacle; Eastmont Orchards-Colts NecK; Terhune Orchards-Princeton, Hauser Hill Farms-Old Bridge.
Consumers seek out New Jersey peaches, which are generally considered to be some of the best in the country. “All our peaches are picked by hand at the height of their sugar content. They retain texture and flavor because they’re grown and packed within 250 miles of the markets,” says Jerry Frecon, Rutgers professor emeritus and retired stone-fruit specialist. “It’s a labor-intensive business,” he continues.
New Jersey ranks fourth in the country for peach production, which averages 50 – 54 million pounds and is valued at $30-35-million.
The Jersey Peach website www.jerseypeaches.com includes a page for requesting further information and contacting grower/purveyors. It also lists varieties, grower/shipper contacts, consumer tips on buying and handing, and recipes. Information is also available on Facebook.com/newjerseypeaches; and on Instagram newjerseypeaches
The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council is a it voluntary organization of growers, shippers, wholesalers and allied industries dedicated to maintaining a viable peach industry in the Garden State while preserving farmland.
–Pegi Adam, New Jersey Peach Promotion Council