“The New Jersey peach crop is expected to have a normal start this year,” Bob Von Rohr, director of customer relations for Sunny Valley International, headquartered in Glassboro, NJ, told The Produce News. “The normal winter chill and good moisture has combined to help ensure a nice crop this coming season.”
Von Rohr added that the peach trees had an outstanding bloom by around April 18 — and with a full crop set. He noted that Sunny Valley was expecting a great crop on track for its normal seasonal movement start during the week of July 8.
“Good volumes of peaches will be available by mid-July,” he noted, “with peak volumes coming on the later weeks of July. The crop will run through the end of September.”
Each peach variety, he explained, has about a 10-day run period, and each variety follows the previous one for a consistent flow throughout the season to provide a steady supply of high-quality New Jersey peaches without gaps.
“We measure quality by chill hours and what we are currently seeing on the trees,” said Von Rohr. “Our barometer on nectarines is their appearance, and this year they are as clean as a whistle. That also translates into great quality on white and yellow peaches.”
White peaches start moving in late July, with the peak season starting the last week of the month. The crop begins tapering down the second week of September. The strength in the white peach category is the Klondike. It is a large to very large globose-shaped peach that has a skin coloration of 90 to 100 percent pink-purplish-red over a slightly cream-red ground color. The flesh is very firm with a highly flavorful sweet and sub-acid flavor. The tree is vigorous and moderately to lightly productive. The Klondike is a beautiful and very firm sub-acid peach.
“The nectarine run is very similar to that of white peaches,” said Von Rohr. They start in late July and peak in early August. The program runs through the first week of September, and then the crop starts to taper down.”
Von Rohr said that New Jersey has some really nice late-season peach varieties that don’t get out to the retail trade as well as they could.
“There is a post-Labor Day trend in which retailers want to back off on peaches,” he explained. “Even if they tell us earlier in the season that they’ll want late peaches, they begin cutting us off. Orders tend to drop way down. It’s a shame because we have really outstanding peaches through September each year. We want the late-season support to help move this great crop.”
He added that many years ago New Jersey was known for its apple and peach production. Over the years, growers got out of apple production and many growers alternatively tried instead to stretch their peach season.
Sunny Valley International is the exclusive sales and marketing agent for the “Jersey Fruit” and “Just Picked” labels. It is also one of the larger shippers for stone fruit out of New Jersey.
The company has been a supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables to the North American market since 1986. It added domestic fresh fruits to its lineup in the mid-1990s. Besides peaches and nectarines, the company markets blueberries, grapes, pears, apples, Spanish clementines and avocados.
Sunny Valley is known to be a reliable supplier of key fruit items due to its long-term relationships with growers and exporters, as well as its industry expertise and experience.
“We know who the players are and how to bring a quality fruit product to market,” said Von Rohr. “We are committed to developing and maintaining long-term relationships with our growers, exporters and customers that allows us to conduct fair and honest trade in the produce industry.”
Von Rohr added that the company’s peach-growing partners have made a commitment to a Primus Labs food-safety program to ensure the highest level of confidence to its customers.