Retailers typically want a specific size and long shelf life when they decide which company’s peaches to buy, and Florida’s smaller peaches don’t always make the cut.

But a $235,000 grant is helping change that, recipients say.

The two-year U.S. Department of Agriculture’s specialty crop block grant is meant to raise awareness of Florida peaches with retailers and consumers and to increase sales for Florida peach growers.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Fresh from Florida program handles the retail relationships and promotions to achieve the grant’s goals.

“We are seeing increased interest this year from the retailer perspective,” said Melissa Hunt, marketing representative for the state department.

In its second year, the grant has collected agreements from 11 retail chains so far to do in-store sample promotions or feature Florida peaches on advertisement circulars, said Sonia Tighe, executive director of the Florida Specialty Crops Foundation, which manages the grant.

“We’re more aggressively reaching out to retailers,” she said. 

“Retailers are interested in buying local and American-grown products, and we’re the first available in the season.” 

The foundation is still promoting with trade publications and using food bloggers, as well as staying active with its @FreshFromFlorida account on Instagram and Facebook, posting quizzes, links, tidbits and recipes such as Florida peach brie, grilled Florida peach salad and Florida peach cobbler.

By joining the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign, peach producers can benefit from the Fresh from Florida program. 

Members can:

  • Use the Fresh from Florida logos;
  • Get registration discounts for industry trade shows at a reduced cost;
  • Receive point-of-purchase materials;
  • Have access to trade leads;
  • Receive the Fresh from Florida magazine and industry newsletter;
  • Be in Florida product tie-ins to retail promotions in newspaper and store circulars; and 
  • Receive a farm sign customized with the member’s business name.

To learn more about membership, click here.