Ag Life: Peach season begins

Ag Life

Peach season is now underway in Southwest and Central Virginia, and farmers expect it to be a great year for the crop.

At Ikenberry Orchards, peaches are popular inside the shop.

“We’re coming to get some good, fresh peaches,” said Nancy Emory, a customer. 

“I had to get really good peaches to make a really good peach cobbler,” said Kathy Garfield, who was also shopping for peaches.

According to workers inside the shop, they sell up to 20 bushels of peaches a day.

“They’re looking good,” said Loretta Ikenberry, co-owner of Ikenberry Orchards.

Due to the weather, peach season is starting a little earlier than normal, Ikenberry said. Warmer weather this past winter made workers nervous about losing the crop to a frost, she said, but luckily, they only lost a few early varieties.

“We were fortunate though because the crop did come through, so we have a really good crop this year.” Ikenberry said.

Right now, bellaire peaches are the ones most available at Ikenberry Orchards, but more varieties will come out as the season goes on, Ikenberry said.

The season brought a good amount of rainfall, she said, but not too much. That’s what gives the peaches their size.

“We’ve had adequate rain to get good size,” Ikenberry said. “And then adequate sunshine to put the sugar in that the flavor is really good.”

Peak is about a month away and usually arrives around August 1, Ikenberry said.

Customers we spoke with said this would not be their final trip to purchase locally-picked peaches.

“They’re fresh from the farm,” Kathy Garfield said. “I’m not going to get a peach that doesn’t taste good.”

Peach season runs through August, Ikenberry said.

The perfect time to eat your peach is when it’s a little soft, but not too soft, she added. 

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