PHOTO: NJ Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher picks a peach at Battleview Orchards in Freehold.
FREEHOLD, NJ – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher yesterday picked peaches at Battleview Orchards in Freehold Township to showcase that the Jersey peach season continues well into September and encouraged consumers to seek out Jersey peaches wherever they shop.
“Now through mid-September is a great time to reach for a Jersey peach,” said Secretary Fisher. “The peach crop is stellar this year with excellent quality and amazing taste. Stop by a farmers market, visit your local farm stand and ask for Jersey peaches at the supermarket.”
Peaches are one of New Jersey’s top fruit crops, ranking fourth in the nation. Last year, New Jersey farmers harvested 30,000 tons of peaches valued at $39.6 million.
“Our peach season has been expanding over the years, with new varieties that ripen well into September,” said Santo John Maccherone, New Jersey Peach Promotion Council chairman and State Board of Agriculture member. “This year, especially, our peach season got off to a late start and we'll have abundant peaches through September. In fact, growers are picking the best, most flavorful varieties right now. So, consumers should take advantage of that for as long as they last.”
Secretary Fisher said the weather is perfect at this time of year to visit a pick-your-own farm to pick peaches for a fun family outing. To find a farm, go to the Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov. Fisher picked a basket peaches for his family during his visit to Battleview Orchards, which grows 30 varieties of peaches for pick-your-own and their retail store.
Scott Applegate, Battleview Orchards owner, said they expect to be picking peaches through at least September 15, overlapping for a couple of weeks with their pick-your-own apples, giving visitors a variety of Jersey Fresh fruit from which to choose.
“From now to the end of peach season is the best quality and best flavor of the year,” said Applegate. “Peaches are great for eating, canning and freezing.”
Battleview Orchards has been growing apples for 100 years. The farm was started in 1908 by Scott Applegate’s great-grandfather, Charles. In 1960, the farm added peaches and now grows 20 acres of peaches, with 5,000 bushels picked each year. The farm utilizes some of those peaches in their store’s baked goods, offering peach pies, peach pound cake, peach muffins and a peach “flip.”
In addition, Battleview Orchards now grows sweet corn, strawberries and tomatoes.
A half-cup sliced fresh peaches is just 30 calories and provides 10 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Ripe peaches should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Rinse peaches in cool water and dry before eating.