FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2008
||Kevin Hardison, marketing specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division
(919) 733-7136, ext. 234
N.C. peaches ready for 2008 season
RALEIGH — What’s in a name? When it comes to N.C. peaches, every variety — even those with such quirky monikers as Peppermint Stick, Red Haven, Sun Prince, Jim Dandee, Sugar Lady, Topaz and Ruby Prince — is packed with a whole lot of flavor, vitamins and nutrients.
The 2008 peach season has kicked off at farmers markets and grocery stores across the state. Clingstone peaches, perfect for recipes calling for pureed or diced peaches, are available now through the beginning of July. Freestone varieties, named for their easily removed pits, should arrive at the beginning of July in time for July Fourth celebrations.
"Not many people realize that farmers in North Carolina grow more than 70 kinds of peaches," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "They’re fresh off the tree now, so be sure to check with your local farmers market or roadside stand to sample a few of the varieties North Carolina grows."
The five-month peach season officially lasts from June through early October, with different varieties appearing throughout the season. Although last season’s crop took a hit from the Easter freeze and ongoing drought, the fuzzy fruit is in top shape for its 2008 debut.
"The warm weather we’ve had across the state should really bring out the sweetness of the peaches, and our farmers are expecting a bountiful crop,” said Kevin Hardison, marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “Many of our farmers plant more than one variety, giving consumers the opportunity to sample a small portion of our state’s agricultural diversity."
To celebrate the peach-growing season, the following events are planned across the state:
- July 11 — Peach Day at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, Colfax;
- July 19 — Peach Festival, Candor;
- July 24 — Peach Day and Peach Recipe Contest at the State Farmers Market, Raleigh;
- July 26 — Peach Day at the Southeastern N.C. Farmers Market, Lumberton.
For additional recipe contest information, nutritional facts, recipes and tips for selecting, handling and preparing peaches, go to www.ncpeach.com.