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NJPPC championing New Jersey peaches

peachesnj The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, comprised of the state’s growers, shippers, marketers, specialists from the Rutgers Cooperative extension and related industry professionals, is a nonprofit voluntary organization dedicated to promoting and maintaining a viable peach industry from New Jersey.   

Bonnie Lundblad, sales representative for Glassboro, NJ-based Sunny Valley International and new director of the NJPPC, noted promoting and marketing New Jersey peaches, along with aiding the farmers in providing the highest quality and best tasting fruit for consumers, are the major focuses of the organization.

“The peach industry is an integral part of the New Jersey Department of Ag’s Jersey Fresh program,” she said. “The NJPPC assists marketing New Jersey peaches in many ways. During the course of the season, there is coordination with the Department of Agriculture Jersey Fresh advertising campaign,  not only for industry in general, but specific promotions for peaches.”

The NJPPC also does advertising with trade publications on regional and national levels, as well as local publications. 

“This year is a bit of a challenge due to COVID-19 and social distancing, but more of an emphasis is being placed on print and radio advertising rather than in person demos and contests,” Lundblad said. “Of course, the agricultural specialists assist the growers in any growing and technical questions they may have.”

New Jersey peaches are located within a 200-mile radius to a huge population of consumers, and the Jersey peach is special because of the proximity to destination. The peaches are picked at a more mature stage than fruit which may be on the road for several days.  

“To be successful in this arena takes dedication to the process of growing the very best fruit on a yearly basis,” Lundblad said. “An appreciation of the history of the state’s agricultural success as well as adapting to the needs of the future are all part of the continued success of this special crop.”

Looking at the current peach crops, there have been weather-related challenges this winter and into the spring leading into this season. There are some pockets of losses of peaches, while other areas did not suffer any loss.

“As a whole, it appears there should be approximately 70-80 percent of a full crop,” Lundblad said. “The season should begin right around July 1, and continue through mid-September, with the peak volume occurring from the end of July through Labor Day.”

The impact of COVID-19 is also presenting itself as a challenge never seen before by those in the peach industry.

“All growers, as well as packing facilities, are working closely with local and state officials to ensure the safety and protection of all workers,” Lundblad said. “Another challenge is keeping an active presence within the stone fruit category. With a 10-week season, we work hard to make sure to have every consumer knows New Jersey peaches are a tasty, colorful and local treat to enjoy all summer.”

While there is plenty of support for local produce and New Jersey peaches by the state ag department, New Jersey growers do promotions with retailers themselves as well.

“Freshness and proximity are very important parts of being able to promote throughout our marketing areas,” Lundblad said. “In some cases, New Jersey peaches can be delivered within a few hours; in most cases, the trip is less than a day. This allows for freshness to continue onto the shelves of the supermarkets and ultimately the consumer.”

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