By Clint Thompson
A Georgia peach industry expert is confident about his state’s marketing outlook amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Duke Lane III’s company, Genuine Georgia, manages sales and marketing for the Georgia peach industry. He believes the market will be there for the Georgia peach farmers despite the presence of COVID-19 that has closed restaurants and shut down schools.
“When you look at retail sales, produce and grocery, they’re up significantly. I think (the pandemic) will undoubtedly have an effect on foodservice. But our business has been built around grocery markets, retailers,” said Lane, who is also president of the Georgia Peach Council.
“We feel like when you start thinking about summertime and feeling good, we feel like those are kind of thoughts that are synonymous with Georgia peaches. We’re pretty optimistic,” Lane said. “I feel like quality, flavor; absolutely. We’re going to kick off about the 18th of May and are just anticipating some big things.”
Georgia is one of the top peach-producing states in the country. 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.