Peach Picking Season in New Jersey has Begun!
By Taylor Smith
Did you know that the Garden State is the fourth largest peach producer in the nation?
While peaches are always available at your local supermarket, nothing compares to a sun-ripened peach from a nearby farmstead. Peaches should ideally be picked after they become slightly softened on the branch. Once picked, a peach will not actually ripen further, it will just become less “fresh” as it continues to soften. Color is not always an expert indicator of when the fruit is best picked, as some varieties of peach have more red variations than others. In general, the deepness of the red coloring is a sign of ripeness. By contrast, any evidence of green skin means that the peach should be left on the branch.
Located at 330 Cold Soil Road in Princeton, Mercer County favorite Terhune Orchards produces 28 varieties of peach each summer. The hot weather crop is currently available for picking, now through September. The Orchards’ peaches are also incorporated into baked goods offerings at the on-site Farm Market. Peach cobblers, pies, and jams are a yearly favorite of kids and adults, alike (https://terhuneorchards.com).
Battleview Orchards (http://www.battlevieworchards.com) in Freehold has pick-your-own sour cherries, peaches, and nectarines. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., summer picking hours vary, so call 732.462.0756 for exact times. Battleview has been owned and operated by the Applegate Family since 1908. The original 130 acres were purchased by Charles R. And Carrie Applegate and deeded as Battleview Farm. Fourth generation owners Scott and Lisa continue to farm with as much love and passion as previous generations of Applegates did, committed to New Jersey’s farming legacy.
Eastmont Orchards in Colts Neck (http://eastmontorchards.com) is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Peach picking is currently in high-gear at Eastmont, with several different varieties of peaches and nectarines available throughout the orchards. Visitors can call 732.542.5404 for specific daily reports on the crops and fields. Eastmont only accepts cash and/or checks.
Established in 1886, Demarest Farms (https://demarestfarms.com) in Hillsdale is open to the public for peach picking Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $10 for a bag to hold all the peaches you can pick (peach bag holds approximately 10 lbs.)! Demarest’s well-manicured trees combine with spectacular views for a memorable afternoon spent with the family. Stop by the Farm Store for delicious honey, donuts, apple butter, fresh preserves, pies, and other treats straight from the fields.
Enjoy the sunshine!