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   New Jersey Peaches Braved Early Weather & Came Through With A Good Crop
by New Jersey Peach Promotion Council
Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 at 8:50AM EDT

Clayton, NJ --  “It has been a rocky road this spring with the very early bloom and the temperatures near freezing, but we have come through with a very good crop,” .says Santo John Maccherone, chair of the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council.   “I had white fleshed nectarines blooming in early March,” he says, “but surprisingly I looked at those blocks when we started thinning and they were heavy with fruit”. 

Maccherone, who owns Circle M Farms with his son John in Mullica Hill and Salem, NJ, has a full crop on his white- and yellow-fleshed peaches,  nectarines and oriental plums.  “We braved some nights near or just below freezing when our trees were in bloom and various stages of early growth,” says Maccherone.

“I have been working with peach growers for over 30 years in southern New Jersey, says Jerry Frecon, agricultural agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Gloucester County, "and have never seen peaches bloom this early.  We were in full bloom on March 23, 2012. Our crop looks pretty good and except for a few low orchard spots, most growers are thinning to reduce crop load and increase fruit size.”  Frecon emphasized that while acreage has declined slightly in New Jersey to about 5500 acres, production should be between 60 and 70,000,000 pounds.  “We lost some trees due to the wet weather we had late last summer – root rot, wind and water saturated soils, he says, "so have some nice new plantings to replace this acreage, most in Salem and Cumberland Counties." While there are over 100 peach growers across the state there are only about 20 that grow and pack peaches for the wholesale market.  We expect a near full crop from most of these wholesale growers.

Ed Gaventa, grower in Logan Township, NJ completed thinning his peach and nectarine acreage.  “We are picking peaches in mid June,” he says.  "Everything has been early this year." Gaventa owns A.L. Gaventa and Sons with his cousin Roy. The Gaventas been picking strawberries for a month and sweet corn harvest should start in mid-June, many crops earlier than normal. Gaventa is also treasurer of the NJ Peach Promotion Council, an organization of growers and allied industries dedicated to the orderly marketing and promotion of New Jersey Peaches.

For further information, contact the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council information office, 856-307-6450 X1; info@jerseypeaches.com; or visit the website www.jerseypeaches.com and find jersey peaches on facebook.

Source: New Jersey Peach Promotion Council

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