(MULLICA HILL) – The Garden State’s
peaches were the main attraction today as the New Jersey
Peach Promotion Council gave the media a behind-the-scenes
look at production and packaging of the sweet fruit.
Media representatives visited Circle M Farms in Mullica Hill, a producer
of a variety of peaches and nectarines, and the Eastern Propak packing
and storage facility in Glassboro. The tour was held in conjunction with
the New Jersey Peach Festival, which runs from July 22-25 at the Gloucester
County 4-H Fairgrounds.
“This tour and festival give New Jerseyans a chance to celebrate one of
the components of Garden State agriculture that sometimes gets overlooked – the
delicious, nutritious peach,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture
Charles M. Kuperus. “People don’t always realize that the Garden
State ranks fourth nationally in peach production, and is home to some of the
sweetest, best-tasting peaches you can find. Our Jersey Fresh peaches can be
picked, packed and shipped to major markets within a few hours’ time. Peaches
that can spend a longer time ripening on the tree and a shorter time in storage
before reaching the consumer are sweeter, larger and have more color than those
that have to be shipped from long distances.”
New Jersey peaches come in an array of varieties, from the yellow-flesh
Sentry to the white-flesh White Lady, to “fuzzless” peaches,
also known as nectarines, in both white and yellow flesh. Some farmers
have even begun growing the “doughnut peach,” a flatter variety
with a pop-out pit that leaves a doughnut-shaped piece of fruit to eat.
The peach festival this year runs from July 22-25, and is at the Gloucester
County 4-H Fairgrounds on Route 77.
Peach growers, agricultural agents, fruit specialists and others knowledgeable
about New Jersey peaches will be present throughout the festival to provide
interesting facts about New Jersey peaches. Such as:
- Peaches were first cultivated in New Jersey in the 1600s, making them
one of the state’s longest-running crops.
- New Jersey is the fourth-largest producer of peaches in the nation,
harvesting about 60 million pounds on 8,000 acres in 2003.
- Peach season in New Jersey lasts from mid-July into September, giving
residents ample opportunity to sample the sweet fruit.
- Weather this spring and early summer has been ideal for peach growing,
and farmers are reporting a great-tasting product is being harvested.
Directions to the 4-H Fairgrounds
From the New Jersey Turnpike: Take the Turnpike to Exit 2. Follow Route
322 East to Mullica Hill. Turn right onto Route 45/77 at the light. Stay
straight on Route 77 South. The 4-H Fairgrounds are approximately one
mile ahead on the left on Route 77.
From Route 55: Take Route 55 to the Exit for Route 322. Follow Route
322 until it intersects with Main Street in Mullica Hill (You will see
signs for Route 45). Make a left onto Main Street and continue straight
as it becomes Route 77. Follow Route 77 for about a mile and you will
see the fairgrounds on your left.
From Route 40: Take Route 40 to Route 77 (Pole Tavern Circle). Follow
Route 77 North about five miles from the circle. The Fairgrounds will
be on your right.
More information also is available at http://gloucester.rce.rutgers.edu/fairfest/