The summer is over but that does not mean local residents cannot find Jersey Fresh products to put in their refrigerators for at least a few more weeks.
Recently New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher was in Freehold picking a few of the fresh peaches at Battleview Orchards still widely available for picking from the trees. “Now through mid-September is a great time to reach for a Jersey peach,” he said. “The peach crop is stellar this year with excellent quality and amazing taste.”
The Garden State ranks fourth in the country in peach production and Secretary Fisher said people still have time to see what makes the juicy treats so special here in New Jersey. Last year alone New Jersey farmers harvested close to 30,000 tons of peaches which he valued at $39.6 million.
Not only does New Jersey make some of the best peaches in the country, but there is also a wide variety of the fruits which make them even more unique for fruit lovers. “Our peach season has been expanding over the years, with new varieties that ripen well into September,” said Santo John Maccherone, New Jersey Peach Promotion Council chairman and State Board of Agriculture member. “This year, especially our peach season got off to a late start and we’ll have abundant peaches through September.”
Maccherone said the late start means some of the best peaches are being picked now across the state. “Consumers should take advantage of that for as long as they last,” he said.
Scott Applegate, who owns Battleview said the picking season should last at least two more weeks, leading right into apple picking season. “From now to the end of peach season is the best quality and best flavor of the year,” he said. “Peaches are great for eating, canning and freezing.”
This year Battleview grew 30 varieties of peaches and has been growing apples for 100 years. It was started in 1908 by Applegate’s great-grandfather Charles. They started growing peaches in 1960 with 20 acres of land for the summer special making 5000 bushels every year. Along with the fields for picking the store sells not only peaches, but also peach pies, peach pound cakes and other delicious baked goods. They also grow sweet corn, strawberries and tomatoes.Battleview is one of a number of pick-your-own farms in the area with peaches and Secretary Fisher said there is still time for families to not only enjoy the fruits from the trees but enjoy time together pulling them from the branches. A full list of pick-your-own farms can be found here.