The peach season in Colorado could not have started any better, growers say, with ideal weather conditions during the growing season contributing to the positive start. No delays were reported and a good spell of wet weather during the winter and spring has provided a good foundation for the remainder of the season.
"The peach season started in what we would consider a 'normal' time frame," said Charlie Talbott of Talbott Farms in Palisade, Colorado. "The last few years have seen some earlier starts to the season. This year, the Redhaven variety - considered a good measure for the season commencement - started on July 22."
"We had an excellent wet winter, which is important for us as we are situated in an arid area and depend on the Colorado River for irrigation," he continued. "Combined with a large snow pack, wet spring and good temperatures, the post bloom growing conditions were just about perfect."
Moving to mid season and later varieties
Early season peaches have made way for mid-season varieties like Glohaven, Red Globe and Roza. According to Talbott, as the season progresses, fruit size is improving. He also mentioned that forecast volume is on track with pre-season estimates.
"Our first varieties give us a good indication of how we are tracking in terms of volume, and we are so far right on our forecast," he shared. "The latter varieties see improved fruit size and better eating quality. Additionally, the market is feeling very good at the moment. We enjoy strong long term relationships with our customers."
One of the peach varieties that is special to Colorado is the Suncrest, as Talbott explained. "Suncrest used to be grown in California before they phased it out some 25 years ago. But here in Colorado, the unique growing environment is ideal for this variety and it finishes very nicely. In fact, it's one of our top varieties. Sun Crest is a mid season peach and we expect to start harvesting it any day now."
Large diurnal temperature range helps the crop
One of the features of the Colorado peach growing district is the elevation as well as the relatively arid conditions as mentioned. The temperature range between day and night is also a factor that Colorado peach growers note helps the crop gain its flavor and quality.
"We are blessed with being in a district that produces such great tasting peaches," Talbott observed. "The climate, including the big swings in day and night temperatures, provides a strong peach growing environment."
Talbott Farms ships its peaches in 2-layer tray packs, with either a 16lb or 20lb configuration. The primary market for Colorado peaches in addition to Colorado itself is the central and northern Midwest regions. Talbott said, "Colorado peach growers enjoy strong support throughout our marketing regions." Colorado's peach season continues until mid September.