The first day of summer may be right around the corner, but fresh North Carolina peaches are already available at farmers markets and roadside stands across the state. While not a bumper crop, local growers do expect to have plenty of peaches through Labor Day in early September.
NC peaches are tree-ripened when harvested, giving them a fresher and sweeter taste than store-bought peaches. There are peach orchards in about two-thirds of the state’s counties.
Said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler: “North Carolina grows more than two dozen varieties of peaches. Growers are harvesting clingstone peaches now and will begin harvesting freestone varieties later this month. No matter which you prefer, peach lovers should be able to find plenty of peaches this summer.”
This year, growers are taking special precautions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Roadside stands have required employees to wear protective gear such as masks and gloves. In addition, many growers have installed protective plastic shields at their registers to protect consumers.
Most of the peaches grown in North Carolina are sold directly to customers. Look for state-grown peaches at your local farmers’ markets (including Nash County’s), roadside farm stands, and at orchards. To find local peach orchards near you, visit the North Carolina Peach Growers Society online at www.buyncpeaches.com.