The harvest of New Jersey peaches and nectarines is expected to begin this week, a little late by typical standards, due to last winter’s cold. Nevertheless, New Jersey is expected to have a good crop this year of one of summer’s most savored foods. The Garden State is ranked fourth for peach production, after California, South Carolina, and Georgia.
As with many New Jersey crops, the 2012 census showed a drop in the number of farms raising peaches, from 249 to 233. The number of acres with fruit-bearing trees dropped from 5,791 to 4,438. The number of farms raising nectarines dropped from 49 to 15.
All of the state’s peaches are picked by hand and sold to markets, rather than to canneries. The average value of wholesale production in the state is between $30 million and $35 million for more than 60 million pounds.