Colorado peach volumes rebound - The Packer

Colorado peach volumes rebound

07/31/2014 01:30:00 PM
Mike Hornick

As Palisade, Colo.-based Talbott’s Mountain Gold LLLP started packing peaches July 23, the grower-shipper anticipated bigger volumes than last year when the crop suffered significant frost damage.

“Last year was dismal,” said Charlie Talbott, president. “The frost then dramatically reduced our overall crop in the range of 25% of production potential. This year we are anticipating a much better situation with a forecast of somewhere between 85% and 90% of full crop.”

Talbotts Mountain Gold LLLPTalbotts Mountain Gold LLLP began packing its peaches July 23. The company plans to end its peach season toward the end of the third week of September.Talbott’s Mountain Gold normally finishes peaches around the end of the third week of September.

“We pack across probably 12 to 15 main varieties, and a total of probably more than 30 varieties, basically with an intent to have a consistent flow of peaches for an eight-week period,” Talbott said.

The company also produces wine grapes and a much smaller crop of pears.

Rogers Mesa Fruit, Hotchkiss, Colo., expects good volumes of summer peaches, pears and apples.

“We’ve got some early peaches in now,” Richard Kinser, manager, said July 23. “Pears come at the tail end of August and apples about the same time. We’ll have some early apples like galas, jonagolds and honeycrisp.”

Tree fruit volumes at Rogers Mesa Fruit will be in the ballpark of 20% higher than last year’s shortened season, Kinser estimates.

“We have excellent peach and apple crops and a very good crop of pears,” he said. “The crops are very clean. We’re grateful for what we’ve been blessed with.”

Commerce City, Colo.-based Ringer & Son Brokerage Co. Inc. began selling peaches July 24. Besides the Palisade fruit, it’s also active in Rocky Ford melons and grows sweet corn for the Mountain Fresh label.

“Everyone’s got good crops coming off,” said Joshua Johnson, Ringer & Son president. “It seems like a normal start or about five to six days behind.” In October, the company will offer pumpkins.


Packing lines

Rogers Mesa Fruit has installed a new MAF packing line for this season’s tree fruit.

“We’re very excited about the possibilities,” Kinser said July 23. “It makes us much more efficient, faster and all the things that come with a new packing line.”

The new line is 180 feet long, packing peaches, pears and apples.

Talbott’s Mountain Gold upgraded its packing line last year.

“We didn’t get a chance to see how much we would love it because we had such a small crop to run,” Talbott said. “The silver lining to the crop loss was that we had a no-stress maiden voyage with the new packing line. This year we really get to see if it will live up to its billing.”

The line has a four-lane roll track sizer.

“Our goal is to be able to handle and pack 35,000 to 40,000 pounds an hour,” Talbott said. “I think we will get a chance to do that this season.”

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