It's hard to think of any time better than peach season — when the weather is warm, and the peaches are perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy. Peach season refers to the peak time for picking and enjoying peaches.
Depending on the climate, peach season may occur anywhere between April and October. In general, peach season is during the summer, the ideal time for dining al fresco and feasting on fresh fruit.
If you love biting into a perfectly ripe peach, you need to know the best time to order peaches from each peach-producing state. Lane Southern Orchards can help you learn where peaches are grown, when peach season is by state, how to identify a ripe peach and where to order your peaches from this season.
Where Are Peaches Grown?
While the South may be the most well-known for its peaches, there are actually 20 states that commercially produce peaches across the U.S. The total U.S. peach production is over 690,000 tons each year. With such a great annual harvest, the U.S. peach industry has grown to be worth nearly $600 million.
Although 20 states grow peaches for commercial use, the 10 most notable peach-producing states include:
- South Carolina.
- North Carolina.
- New Jersey.
Peach Season by State
Now that you're familiar with the most popular peach states, it's time to discuss when peach season starts in each of those states. The harvest time for peaches usually occurs during the warmest months of the year. Because various states have vastly different climates, peach season changes from state to state.
As the Southern belle of peach season, Georgia is usually one of the first states to start selling peaches each year. Due to the state's warm climate, Georgia peaches can be ready to harvest as early as mid-May. The first Georgia peaches to mature are the clingstone variety — the kind of peach with flesh that clings to the pit — starting the state's peach season strong.
Semicling peaches are the following variety of peaches to mature in Georgia, closely followed by freestones. These popular peaches have tender flesh that falls away from the peach's pit, allowing sweet peach juice to drip down your chin. After a summer full of irresistibly juicy peaches, the Georgia peach season wraps up around mid-August.
2. South Carolina
South Carolina's peach season starts a bit later than Georgia's and ends around the same time. The slightly colder climate of South Carolina means its peaches are ready for harvest further into the summer. The peach harvest in South Carolina lasts from mid-June through late August.
3. North Carolina
Similar to South Carolina, North Carolina's peach season runs from early June to September. However, the peak of peach season in North Carolina is definitely July. In July, peach fanatics can find orchards throughout North Carolina producing up to 70 different varieties of peaches, each boasting its unique taste.
Florida's year-round warm climate makes it a powerhouse peach producer. The state's harvest season starts early in April but lasts only through mid-May. Despite this relatively short harvest season, the flavorful, juicy peaches that Florida produces prove that the Sunshine State can grow far more than just citrus fruit.
California's excellent soil conditions, vast farmland, mild winters and hot, dry summers make it the perfect place for growing peaches. California produced approximately 56% of the nation's fresh peach crop in 2017. The harvest time for all these California peaches begins in late June and runs through mid-September.
The warm summer climate of Pennsylvania makes the state an ideal destination for growing peaches. Pennsylvania peach farmers can rely on cool springs with minimal frost and hot, dry summers — the perfect conditions for producing peaches. Peach harvest time in Pennsylvania starts in early July and extends through the end of September.
7. New Jersey
New Jersey is known as the Garden State for a reason — the state's mild climate creates excellent conditions for producing crops. In particular, New Jersey produces plenty of peaches each year. However, the state's temperate weather sets its harvest season back a bit to early July through mid-September.
Idaho's cold, long winters don't give way to warm temperatures until at least June. This delay of warm weather pushes the Idaho peach harvest to August. Farmers can pick peaches in Idaho through October, so the long wait for peach season to begin is worth it.
Colorado gets 300 days of sunshine each year, making the state the perfect place for raising crops. Thanks to all this sunlight, Colorado enjoys a long peach season running from late June through early October. Many of the peaches harvested in Colorado orchards are of the juicy freestone variety.
Michigan's cold climate makes the state's peach season shorter than most. However, Michigan still produces a significant number of delicious peaches every year. The harvest season for Michigan's peaches starts in mid to late July and wraps up around the end of September.
Why Is Georgia Known for Peaches?
If multiple states have a peach season, why are peaches from Georgia so famous? Peaches from Georgia are widely recognized for their superior flavor, appearance and texture. Along with being sweeter and jucier than other peaches, Georgia peaches boast excellent nutritious qualities. Eating Georgia-grown peaches can help people maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.
The quality of Georgia peaches is so remarkable that Georgia's nickname is the "Peach State." In 1995, the peach became Georgia's official state fruit, even though it produces fewer peaches than other peach-growing states. Georgia bears this nickname proudly, featuring a peach on the U.S. Mint's Georgia quarter. Because of Georgia's reputation for superior peaches, crowds of people flock to the state's orchards each season.
How to Tell if Peaches Are Ripe
Going to an orchard, the farmers market or even your local grocer during peach season doesn't guarantee that all the peaches will be ripe. Help yourself avoid biting into an unripened peach by learning how to identify a perfectly juicy peach. Here are the main characteristics to look for when purchasing peaches:
- Skin: A peach's skin is one of the most reliable ripeness indicators. If you notice wrinkles around the stem of a peach, it means the fruit is ripe and ready to eat. The wrinkles show that water has begun evaporating from the peach, intensifying the peach's sweetness and bringing it to peak flavor.
- Color: Ideally, you want your peach to have a deep, golden yellow color. Steer clear of any peaches with hints of green, which means it's under-ripe, or a red blush resulting from sun exposure.
- Touch: Select peaches that are soft to the touch if you want a delightfully drippy, sweet peach eating experience.
- Scent: Search for peaches that smell sweet. If a peach has no aroma, it won't taste as good as a sweetly-scented peach.
Make Every Season Peachy Keen With Lane Southern Orchards
Make the most of Georgia peach season this year by visiting Lane Southern Orchards. When you stop by Lane Southern Orchards, you can purchase irresistible Southern staples including peach products, fruit preserves, baked goods, delectable pecans and more. If you don't happen to be in Georgia, Lane Southern Orchards ships its tasty peaches seasonally through June and July.
Once you receive your plump Georgia peaches from Lane Southern Orchards, your options for enjoying them are limitless. You can use your peaches to make desserts like coffee cup peach cobbler and strawberry peach smoothies or savory dishes like baked chicken with fresh peaches and peach vinaigrette salad. Whether you create a culinary masterpiece or enjoy your peaches as-is, Lane Southern Orchards peaches will be the highlight of your summer.
Sweeten your season by placing your Lane Southern Orchards order or contacting us today.