( Courtesy FirstFruits International )

Peaches and apples dominate Colorado’s summer fruit deal, and the harvests appeared to be on time this year, grower-shippers said.

“Our peach crops are doing well,” said Cassandra Moreland, owner of Palisade, Colo.-based Peach Haven Farms, which specializes in organic tree-ripe peaches. “Although they are slow to start this year, we are expecting a full crop.”

Peach Haven has “branched out” into numerous sales areas this year, including roadside fruit stands, to go along with wholesale markets, Moreland said. 

“We look forward to seeing what this new harvest season brings,” she said. “I do know several farmers were hit with hail, causing some damage. However, it’s still looking to be a great year full of fruit.”

The peach crop looked good at Denver-based grower-shipper Ringer & Son, said Joshua Johnson, president.

“We just finished with our early variety, and they’re super-nice,” he said July 26. 

The early peaches didn’t size as well as Johnson had hoped they would, but that shouldn’t be a problem with the later crop, he said.

“Later in season, they’re definitely going to be the right size,” he said. 

Timing is the only issue with the peach crop for Hotchkiss, Colo.-based Rogers Mesa Fruit Co. and its marketing arm, FirstFruits International, said Jonathan Allen, president.

The firm is not affiliated with FirstFruits Marketing of Washington.

By July 27, the company had peaches moving out of its northern growing area and was beginning to harvest west of the Rocky Mountains.

“We’ve got a good peach crop, and industrywide there’s a good crop,” he said. 

“The issue at the moment is it’s being delayed. The late bloom and cool weather in June and July have just postponed the harvest date. But it should be a good year with a lot of demand and a lot of supply. We’re expecting a busy fruitful year all the way through the middle of September.”

FirstFruits also markets apricots, Allen said.

“We don’t have a big volume, and most are going locally, mostly to Denver,” he said. 

Two-thirds of the company’s peach volume is organic, Allen said.

Palisade-based Talbott Farms Inc. anticipates normal timing on its peach crop, said Charlie Talbott, president.

“We’ve had a great spring, got through the spring frost period — our nemesis — in great shape, and we feel like we have bearing capacity on the trees,” he said.

It should be a good crop, and the harvest has started, if only slowly, Talbott noted.


Apples and pears

FirstFruits’ apple crop was “looking good,” Allen said.

“We did have a little hail damage earlier, but we’ll have a good apple-pear supply,” he said. 

“We’re one of the few apple-pear shippers in Colorado now, and we’ve got good conventional and organic apples and pears and should be a good fall crop.”

Both items should start moving around Labor Day, with some coming off around Aug. 25, Allen said.

“Overall, this has been a really one of the best crops, all fruits considered, that we’ve ever had.”

Hotchkiss-based Wacky Apple Co. LLC anticipates a healthy organic apple crop, said Sarah Tuft, co-owner.

“The Honeycrisp harvest looks promising. Our other varieties — fuji, gala, etc. — look adequate,” she said. 

“The harvest timing is looking to be on track — maybe a touch late, but the warm summer days are working in our favor. The organic apple market is in great, great demand, trending up, as it has been in the past years.”

Wacky Apple has more than 200 acres of “young/baby trees,” Tuft said.


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