Time is running out on Georgia’s peach crop this year. Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Peach and Taylor counties, confirmed that the state’s producers only have about a week left before they are done harvesting this year’s crop.
“We’ll still ship, maybe for another week. We’re getting to the end here,” Cook said.
Cook said Georgia peach producers normally harvest through the second week in August. Some varieties were harvested earlier this season. High temperatures in the springtime were a likely factor.
“I think a lot of it was the heat in March, the heat directly after bloom,” Cook said. “But it wasn’t across the board that everything acted the same. Some things were early, some things were normal time. Some things held on. I’ve got a Scarlet Prince (variety) in my research orchard that we usually pick the last couple of days of June and first of July. We were picking the second week of June through the first week in July. We picked them for three weeks and they were good, commercially acceptable peaches.”
Good Year Overall
He added that it has been a good year overall for farmers.
“We had some speedbumps early on with some early varieties that got a little cold damage,” Cook said. “It looks like quality has been good because I haven’t seen a lot of dump trucks leaving packing sheds.
“I was actually at Lane’s yesterday with my son and he was like, ‘What is that thing coming out of the packing shed?’ I was like, ‘That’s the conveyor belt that takes all of the bad peaches.’ All that was coming off the conveyor belt was leaves, that’s all that was falling through. That’s always a good sign.”
According to UGA Extension, Georgia produces more than 130 million pounds of peaches every year. There are two commercial peach-growing regions in Georgia. The central region is the largest with about 1.6 million peach trees, which comprises 75% of the state’s production. The southern region produces about 30 million pounds of peaches annually.