By Dexter Hill, NCDA&CS
Peach lovers across the state can expect to find plenty of peaches for homemade ice cream, cobblers or just eating fresh. While a late freeze affected many orchards across the state, growers from the mountains to the coast are reporting a good crop of late-variety freestone peaches.
“It all depends on where the orchard is located,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Some orchards were hit harder by the late freeze, while others right down the road remained unaffected. Still, there should be plenty of peaches available throughout the state.”
Some early variety clingstones will be available, but they will not be as plentiful as the mid- to late-season freestone varieties. Many consumers enjoy freestones for the ease in which the flesh of the peach separates from the seed, making these varieties easy to enjoy as a snack. Freestone varieties are expected to be available until late August.
North Carolina growers produce more than two dozen varieties of peaches. The majority of peaches grown in the state are available directly from farmers. Consumers can search for farmers markets and roadside stands near them at www.ncfarmfresh.com. The department encourages consumers to check with their local peach grower for availability and timing of their favorite varieties.
North Carolina is home to more than 1,200 acres of peaches. In 2015, growers produced 5,290 tons of the fruit. More information about the state’s peach industry is available from the department’s website and www.NCPeachGrowers.com.
Ed. Note: NC Peach statistics may be found on the North Carolina Cooperative Extension website at peaches.ces.ncsu.edu/peaches-statistics.