Feeling Peachy: Florida Crop Nearing Harvest

Clint Thompson Florida, Peaches, Top Posts

Domestic options will soon be available for consumers yearning for that sweet, delicious peach. The first of Florida’s peach crop will be ready in late March, according to Jose Chaparro, UF/IFAS Associate Professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department.

He said the peach trees have produced their strongest bloom in the last five years. It is due in large part to colder winter temperatures, something the peach trees have missed out on in recent years.

“We’ve been really taking it on the chin the last four years, and the same thing happened in central Georgia last year. Everybody’s suffering from the lack of chill symptoms, so crops have been light. Fruit sizes have been small. Fruit shape has suffered significantly,” Chaparro said. “This is more like what we would like in terms of chilling. In central Florida along the I-4 corridor, we were very near, if not equal to, historical averages.”

Hopefully for Florida growers, a strong peach bloom will translate into a productive season. Florida peaches are the first to hit the market every year. Producers hope they can take full advantage.

“We cannot compete toe-to-toe with Georgia because we don’t have the volume. And because of our temperatures and soil, we’re going to always be slightly smaller in size,” Chaparro said. “For us, our competitiveness is based on earliness.”