Earlier peach season predicted for New Jersey

05/24/2012 02:28:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

GLASSBORO, N.J. — New Jersey peaches could arrive a little ahead of schedule. Harvesting, which normally begins the first week of July, should start around July 1, said Bob Von Rohr, marketing and customer relations manager for Sunny Valley International Inc., the sales agent for Jersey Fruit Cooperative Association Inc.

In mid-May, Von Rohr called peach quality high and said he expects a better-than-normal peach crop.

“The crop looks outstanding from a size and color standpoint,” Von Rohr said in mid-May.

“We have had a good winter. Chill hours are not a problem. We’ve had plenty of moisture and everything looks like a go for now. Everything looks like it will be a good year for New Jersey peaches.”

Von Rohr said other growing regions also began harvesting early. He said a South Carolina grower Sunny Valley represents began production May 1, about 10 days earlier than usual.

Von Rohr said South Carolina volume looks to be strong and said he expects that state to experience a strong year as well.

Georgia and South Carolina generally produce through mid-August, Von Rohr said, and is joined in production by California and Washington.

He said heightened interest in local deals should help support East Coast peach production.

Sun Valley Orchards LLC, Swedesboro, plans to begin harvesting in late July and early August, as usual.

Joe Marino, director of sales and marketing, said New Jersey typically finishes harvesting by the second or third week of September, as California continues production and as the deal transitions to the Southern Hemisphere.

Marino said new late-season varieties help South Carolina continue volume through early to mid-August.

He called last season decent at the start.

“Quality was outstanding but it was dry,” Marino said.

“Once the rain came in August, the season ended terribly. We had 80 acres that were waterlogged. It continued to rain in September.”

Jersey Fruit Cooperative’s members grow yellow- and white-flesh peaches and small volumes of nectarines.

This season, the cooperative expects to pack 700,000 25-pound cases of peaches, similar to last year, Von Rohr said.

Sun Valley Orchards harvests from 400 acres.



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