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Peaches are ready for picking

Mike Rosier/Morris News Service
Edgefield peach sales doing well, owners say
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EDGEFIELD, S.C. --- The highly anticipated freestone peaches are in. Daytime temperatures have moderated a bit and sales are up -- a profitable combination for local peach markets.

Freestone peaches, which feature flesh that doesn't stick to the stone like other varieties and are sweeter, are now being sold.   Michael Rosier/Morris News Service
Michael Rosier/Morris News Service
Freestone peaches, which feature flesh that doesn't stick to the stone like other varieties and are sweeter, are now being sold.

Although the number and severity of afternoon and evening storms has increased in recent weeks, most of what has ailed the peach market has been the extreme heat, which drives customers away. As temperatures drop, sales pick up.

"The heat has cooled off a little bit and people are shopping," said Star Robertson, of Jackie's Market on U.S. Highway 25. "When it was 100-plus degrees every day, people just don't like getting out in it, but business has been really good."

Pam Cook, of Cook's Farms, says it has been a great season.

"We can tell how business is by how tired we are in the afternoons, and we have been tired," Cook said. "So business is good.

"The heat does help make us more tired in the evenings, but we're doing fine and the peaches are delicious."

For some growers, the volume they are accustomed to is less, but quality and solid prices are maintaining a marketplace.

"We have had some weather and the volume in boxes is off, but the price has held very, very well and is holding strong," said Sonny Yonce, of J.W. Yonce and Sons. "Everyone may not have packed the volume that was expected (so far), but a good price is making up for it at the moment, and we have excellent quality."

Part of the upswing might also be attributed to the emergence of the popular freestone peach, which features flesh that releases more easily from the stone of the fruit.

Sherrie Harmon, of Sara's Roadside Stand, says freestone peaches are exactly what customers have been waiting for.

"In a given season, we may have between 80 and 100 varieties of peaches, so what people want to know is whether or not the peaches are freestone, because after they hit freestone they're all sweet," she said.

Robertson said the presence of freestone peaches this year marks a noticeable difference in sales.

"Now that we have freestone, it's boosted the sales," said Robertson. "I can see it."

Cook says even better fruit is on its way.

"We're going into freestone peaches, and our best varieties are yet to come," Cook said.

In addition to peaches, markets are also selling plenty of other fruits and vegetables, including favorites such as seedless melons, sweet corn, boiled peanuts and okra.

"We have white sweet corn coming in now, and that keeps us busy, too," Cook said. "We're shelling butter beans and peas and have some nice okra and tomatoes as well."

Sara's is selling plenty of "Imagination" seedless watermelons that are somewhat darker in color and super sweet.

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Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 06/28/11 - 08:00 am
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I am on the way to Edgefield

I am on the way to Edgefield this week!

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 06/28/11 - 08:38 am
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Me too, Willow!

Me too, Willow!

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