Colorado peach supplies should be tight

08/27/2013 11:45:00 AM
Mike Hornick

Courtesy Clark Family OrchardsClark Family Orchards co-owner Dennis Clark, left, and foreman Jack Kissell with the Palisade, Colo.-based grower's peaches, which are in reduced supply this summer following a pair of April frosts.Colorado peaches are showing up in far smaller volumes at retail in the aftermath of spring freezes that hit growers in and around Palisade, Colo.

Peach production in Colorado runs from about mid-July through September.

“It’s a hit-or-miss situation in our region,” said Dennis Clark, owner of Clark Family Orchards. “Our crop is down to maybe 30% or 40% of normal in our Palisade area.” That’s his smallest crop since 1991.

A pair of hard freezes a week apart in April were too much for wind machines and other frost protection measures to handle.

“A few places are doing well, but some of us commercial packers are having a struggle,” Clark said.

Prices are up to 20% above normal.

Fruit stands and farmers markets appear to have their usual supplies. “It’s more on the commercial end going out to the grocery stores that there just isn’t enough volume,” Clark said.

Smaller than normal peach volumes should continue through September.

The pear crop in the area went comparatively unscathed by the frosts. Pears were at a different stage in the development cycle than peaches when the freezes hit.



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