Things are peachy this summer for NJDA
With the summer months upon us, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has turned its attention to peaches, actively participating in meetings with the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council and assisting in making connections with growers, packers, distributors, retailers and businesses that use peaches as a value-added product.
“New Jersey peach growers expect an exceptional crop of juicy, sweet, excellent-sized yellow and white peaches available starting in late-June through early September,” said Joe Atchison III, NJDA’s director of marketing and development. “The weather this year has been extremely favorable, so a more robust crop is expected compared to 2022.”
That means early varieties such as Sunbrite, Sentry, Fury and Ruby Prince, among others, should be readily available early in the season, with Gala, Saturn (also known as donut), Flavorcrest, Early Loring and Redstar available from mid-July to early August, followed by Cresthaven, Gloria, Jerseyqueen, Laurol and Victoria from mid-August into September.
“It has been a unique year due to extreme shortages of peaches from other areas. So, this year especially, New Jersey is a great peach partner to have,” Atchison said. “And the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is poised to help promote the availability of Jersey Fresh peaches in our marketing campaign and through point-of-purchase materials available to retailers.”
Promoting the benefits of local and Jersey Fresh is always an advantage for New Jersey peach growers.
“Everyone knows a peach is healthy and encouraging people to integrate more into their diet would be beneficial for all,” Atchison said. “We believe sharing nutritional information and recipe ideas which can encourage different ways to eat peaches is a great way to encourage more consumption of peaches.”
Over several seasons, during the peak marketing window for Jersey Fresh peaches, NJDA targets New Jerseyans and vacationers to the Garden State with an array of tactics, as reaching people multiple times in varying locations helps the department build awareness and excitement around local, Jersey peaches availability.
“We utilize a digital billboard campaign throughout the highly traveled New Jersey roads as well as sponsor traffic and weather reports on radio stations throughout the state and along the famous Jersey shoreline to reach people whenever they are in their vehicles,” Atchison said. “Social media marketing, including Instagram and Facebook posts featuring peach recipe videos, facts, features on orchards and more engage people on Facebook and Instagram.”
NJDA also specifically target beach goers by having a Jersey Fresh airplane banner flying up and down the coast each weekend throughout the summer and provide free samples of the sweetest, juiciest Jersey peaches on Jersey boardwalks Aug. 22, National Eat a Peach Day.
Every season, the NJDA provides retailers with point-of-purchase materials which highlight that their peaches are local by utilizing the extremely well-recognized Jersey Fresh logo, an almost 40-year-old brand.
“Consumers want local products,” Atchison said. “When Jersey peaches are in season, consumers throughout the northeast expect them to be on their retailers’ shelves. Retailers can be assured their customers will get the quality they demand given that New Jersey’s peaches and nectarines are picked, packed, shipped and in store in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and up and down the Eastern Seaboard within a day or two of harvest.”
Additionally, with transportation costs still high, it’s good to remember that New Jersey farmers are within a few hours of over 50 million consumers. New Jersey’s growers are poised to meet retailer’s peach needs this season.