New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher visited Larchmont Farms in Salem County to highlight the Jersey Fresh peach harvest.
The visit took place as Larchmont Farms is beginning to harvest, pack, and ship peaches.
“The New Jersey peach industry is having a great crop this year and we encourage people to ask for this fabulous fruit at their favorite farm stand, farm market or supermarket,” Secretary Fisher said. “When you buy Jersey Fresh you are showing your support of our farmers in the Garden State.”
Larchmont Farms is a 12th-generation farm owned by Tom Dunn and Charles and Keith Haines. It is located on more than 800 acres in Upper Pittsgrove and grows high-quality peaches and other fruits.
Larchmont Farms was incorporated in 1769 and has since been producing the ripest, sweetest, and juiciest peaches and nectarines grown on 800 acres.
In 2010. the entire farm was converted to run on solar power, in the first year eliminating 800,000 lbs. of CO2 gas and 204,000 lbs. of sulfur dioxide that would have been released into the air.
All lights were converted to LED bulbs, which use 5 percent of the energy of an incandescent bulb.
Larchmont Farms uses fewer pesticides by disrupting the mating “signals” of insect pests using pheromone-soaked twist-ties that are attached to trees throughout the orchard.
All fruit from Larchmont Farms is packed into boxes that were made from 100% recycled paper. The farm also uses geothermal heating and cooling, further lowering the carbon footprint of the farm.
“The season is off to a great start, and we are anticipating an outstanding year,” Charles Haines said. “The weather we have had so far has been what we need. We take great pride in the steps we’ve taken in making our operation environmentally friendly and plan to continue a family business that started in colonial times.”
New Jersey is one of the nation’s top growers of peaches, ranking in the top five in production in the U.S. most years, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Peach producers annually harvest approximately 60 million pounds with a wholesale value of about $35 million on nearly 4,000 acres.
All of New Jersey’s peach crop is sold to the fresh market via supermarkets, farm markets, specialty produce stores, U-pick operations, and community farmers markets. Jersey peaches are shipped all over the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada.
According to the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, yellow flesh comprises 90 percent of Jersey peaches, white flesh makes up four percent, yellow and white flesh nectarines are six percent, and the newer doughnut, or flat peaches, make up less than one percent.
The first peach variety of New Jersey’s season is Sentry, followed by Gala, Flavorcrest, Loring and Red Haven. Next is the John Boy season followed by the Crest Haven, Gloria, Jersey Queen, and Fayette varieties.
The Encore and Laurol varieties wrap up the state’s peach season in mid- to late-September. White peaches are expected to begin shipping around the end of July and continue through mid-September.
Look for Jersey Fresh peaches in your local supermarkets, farmers markets and roadside stands. You can find what is available and where to buy Jersey Fresh items at http://www.findjerseyfresh.com.