July is just peachy! NC celebrates peaches

Baby eating a fruit (Photo: Gustavo Miranda Holley, Custom)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Move over, Georgia. We’re pickin’ our peaches in the Tar Heel state this summer!

The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is celebrating NC Peach Month in July. So we wanted to know a few things about peaches – besides how delicious they are.

1. North Carolina farmers grow about 70 different varieties of peaches on more than 1,000 acres.

2. Picked ripe off the vine: 90 percent of NC peaches are sold directly to consumers through roadside stands and farmers markets, usually within a few days of harvesting.

3. You can find peaches at more than 150 farms and markets in North Carolina. Click here to see the list.

4. In 2014, North Carolina produced 4,380 tons of peaches totaling $6.2 million in value to the state’s economy.

5. According to NC Cooperative Extension, peach sales in NC estimate between $11 million to $15 million every year.

6. Short but sweet: North Carolina peaches are around from the first of June through most of August, peaking in July. Enjoy them while you can this summer!

7. In March 1963, the North Carolina Peach Growers’ Society was founded in Candor (better known as the “Peach Town” of NC) by some of the most prominent peach growers in the Sandhills region of the state.

8. T. Clyde Auman, D.P. Gallimore, and Earl Richard Parsons, Jr. were some of those growers who signed on to an organization with the mission of promoting the peach industry in NC.

9. Katherine Ball Ripley’s memoir, Sand in My Shoes, outlines the rise and fall of peach fortunes in the Sandhills in the early part of the 20th century. At the time, hundreds of boxcars left Candor every day during peach season, heading up to Northern markets. The success of early growers led to a peach boom and overproduction of fruit. Pretty soon, new varieties of peaches in Georgia and South Carolina overlapped with North Carolina harvest times, and undercut the lock the Sandhills growers had on northern markets.

you can get your peach on at the Farmers Markets listed below. There will be free samples of peaches and peach ice cream. The Colfax and Raleigh locations also include a peach recipe contest. “Peach Days” at the markets are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

July 14 — State Farmers Market, 1201 Agriculture Street, Raleigh

July 15 — Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, 2914 Sandy Ridge Road, Colfax

July 22 — Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, 1801 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte

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