Glassboro, NJ – With ideal growing conditions this year, New Jersey peaches should be at their finest this season.
“Come July, you should be seeing our locally grown yellow and white peaches, and nectarines in supermarkets, farmers markets and farm stands,” says Bonnie Lundblad, senior sales representative for Sunny Valley International, the largest marketer of New Jersey peaches and recently elected chair of New Jersey Peach Promotion Council.
The pick- your- own orchards may have strict rules for consumers going into the orchards. Check the websites of those you wish to visit.
New Jersey is the country’s fourth largest producer of peaches, growing yellow, white and donut (flat) peaches, and nectarines. They’re sold in such retail outlets as ShopRite, Costco, Acme, Kings, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s, Walmart and others, under labels marked as Circle M, Jersey Fruit and Atlantic Sunrise. “If you see any of those labels on the peaches or display boxes, you know they’re from Jersey, picked, packed and delivered to stores fresh,” says Lundblad.
Consumers look forward to arrival of the Jersey peaches, judging by comments and questions posed to the website and facebook, beginning to ask in late May when they’ll be available. What makes them so special, besides packing just 70 calories into such sweetness? A combination of ideal soil, temperate climate and proximity to markets. Most New Jersey peach orchards are close to major markets in the eastern and mid-western US and Canada and shipped within a few days to stores. This year’s ample moisture and sunshine are giving the fruit good size and color. Since peach trees produce all their sugar while the fruit is on the tree, New Jersey growers try to pick the fruit with maximum sugar or full ripeness, and get it quickly to markets, thus preserving the sweetness and flavor.
“We strive to grow the very best peaches without cutting corners on food safety and a safe environment for our workers,” says Santo John Maccherone, one of the state’s primary growers, who sells his peaches and home-made peach cider and peach salsa under the Circle M label. “It’s a good, long season from when our trees bloom until we harvest, pack and ship the last box of peaches in September,” says Maccherone.
The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council is a voluntary organization of growers, packers, shippers, marketers and allied industries dedicated to the orderly marketing and promotion of NJ Peaches.