Good news for peach lovers. Growers are reporting fair to good crops for the 2018 peach season, which runs through Labor Day.
“Growers are reporting an average crop with availability varying depending on where the orchard is located. We’ve seen some loss in early varieties, but later clingstone varieties and freestone varieties should be plentiful this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our growers are really good at protecting their crops from volatile weather, but you can only do so much about the extreme cold weather and heavy rains we experienced earlier this year.”
Troxler encourages consumers to check with their favorite peach grower for availability and timing of their favorite varieties. Consumers can find peach orchards in about two-thirds of the state’s counties, and can search for peach growers near them at www.ncfarmfresh.com.
To celebrate the season, the department will host Peach Day events at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh on July 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax on July 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both events feature a peach recipe contest, free samples of peach ice cream and an appearance from the N.C. Peach Queen. Peach lovers also can enjoy the N.C. Peach Festival in Candor July 20-21. The 22nd annual event includes a parade, music, carnival rides, food vendors and lots of fresh, N.C. peaches.
North Carolina is home to more than 1,200 acres of peaches. In 2015, growers produced 5,290 tons of the summer fruit. More than two dozen varieties are grown in the Tar Heel State. The majority of peaches grown in North Carolina are available directly from farmers, meaning the peaches are allowed to ripen on the tree to full maturity.