Unlike previous harvests, some orchard owners east of Palisade are experiencing a slight delay before they pick their first peaches.
“We’re still three to four days away from picking. The reason we know that the peaches are not quite ready is that some of them have not shaped out. As you can see by this peach here, it’s got a bit of a ridge to it. It’s got a few flat spots, that means that peach is still needing to fill out”, says Chris Young the owner of Bella Bolettino Farms.
Various different types of peaches have different harvest seasons, but they all rely on three things; warm days, cool nights, and the right amount of water.
Many may think that drought conditions have had a major effect on Palisade peaches. The drought conditions certainly have on the Colorado River, but when it comes to our peaches it’s quite different than what someone might expect. When the water table is higher and it’s touching the peach tree roots, it can create root rot.
Root rot is a concern many orchard owners share, some of them believe the humidity the river provides has had a positive effect on the cool nights the peaches need to grow.
“Sometimes they’re early, sometimes they’re late. PF-1s should come off first, and we picked PF-5s first”, says Renee Herman, one of the owners for the Herman Produce family-owned fruit stand and orchard, while speaking about various types of early season peaches. “You never know what’s going to happen, it all depends on the weather.”
Despite this delay, orchard owners expect a great harvest this year, even if it’ll be later than previous ones.
You can find Palisade peaches at many fruit stands in Palisade, plus a few we’ve found near Canyon View Park and the Safeway near Horizon Drive in Grand Junction.