CALIFON, N.J. — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher highlighted National Peach Month with a visit to Melick’s Town Farm in Hunterdon County. Secretary Fisher and state and local officials viewed Melick’s pick-your-own orchard site in Califon to emphasize that locally grown peaches and other farm products are readily available now at farmers markets and stores around the state.
“We are having another great year with Jersey Fresh Peaches,” said Secretary Fisher, who will also visit Sunny Valley International in Gloucester County on Friday. “They are super-delicious and once again we are experiencing a good harvest season with all varieties. We encourage consumers to visit places like Melick’s Town Farm, where you can pick your own peaches or buy them fresh from the stand, and to also look for Jersey Fresh peaches in local supermarkets. It’s a credit to our farmers that New Jersey remains one of the leaders in the country when it comes to the quality and quantity of peaches.”
The USDA has projected New Jersey to harvest approximately 64 million pounds of peaches this year, which would be about an 8-million-pound increase from last year. That projection places New Jersey No. 3 in the U.S. in peach production for 2018.
“Business has been really good for us so far this year,” said John Melick, one of the three Melick siblings who owns and operates Melick Farms along with his sister Rebecca and brother Peter. “With the pick-your-own option, it’s an opportunity for families to come out together and enjoy a piece of the on-farm experience. We hope it creates good memories for them and that our peaches allow them to create any number of delicious recipes for them to enjoy.”
The Melick family has been farming in New Jersey since about 1725. They farm a total of 650 acres, with about 250 acres of orchards. The Melicks have about 4,000 peach trees with more than 30 different varieties of peaches. Melick’s Town Farm, which has three locations and was formerly run by George and Norma Melick, is also an active member of the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council.
The peach season for New Jersey lasts through the end of September. There are approximately 80 peach orchards in New Jersey with growers producing more than 100 different types of peaches. About 90 percent of those peaches are the yellow and white varieties.
Go to www.FindJerseyFresh.com to see where Jersey Fresh peaches are available locally and to find recipes that include great tasting Jersey Fresh peaches.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture