Peachy Keen in Genuineland: Tracking Our Favorite Stone Fruit in Season

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Florida peach season is in full swing. You might not know this — we sure didn’t until we did a little tooling around on the internet — but peach farming is not entirely new to Florida.  The Lakeland Ledger reported last year that although growing peaches is usually associated with Georgia, Florida farmers claimed about 5,000 planted acres of peach trees in the early 1980s.  After a devastating freeze caused a drastic drop to about 500 acres by the end of that decade, the University of Florida’s Department of Horticultural Sciences in Gainesville began work on several “low chill” varieties that don’t require as many cold days to produce fruit like the Georgia crops do and can survive Florida’s mostly subtropical climate.  In part due to this R&D, as well as Florida citrus growers wanting to spread risk on their land, peach farming started to pick up again about a decade ago according to Mercy Olmstead, an extension specialist for stone fruit production with the University. The article reports that today, there are more than 1,000 planted acres of peach trees, mostly in Central and South-central Florida, compared to 240 acres reported in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Georgia has about 12,000 acres. More for us, more for you.  Here’s where you can find peaches in our neck of the woods, and the many ways to eat them savory and sweet, although we like plain just the same!

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