Peach Marketing Project & Warm Winters

It’s definitely time for an update!

Although I left the University of Florida in August of last year, I wanted to bring a few items to your attention. My family and I are settling in nicely in California, and I am hopeful that UF will hire my replacement soon, at which time the new person will take over this blog or establish a new one!

Marketing in Florida

Before I left UF, I worked with the Public Issues and Education Center (the PIE Center: http://www.piecenter.com/) to get a grant on marketing Florida peaches. They will have their first report on their findings on March 23, 2017, from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM. This will be a webinar, and more information can be found here:

http://www.piecenter.com/2017/01/26/march-23-1030-1130am-the-florida-peach-industry-consumer-research-and-marketing-plan-in-collaboration-with-the-fresh-from-florida-campaign/

I hope that you’ll be able to attend and find out more information about marketing Florida peaches!

Chill Hours

In Florida, there is a constant battle with the weather to be able to accumulate enough chill in peach trees. This season, as in the past, there has been very little chill. Below is the current situation for Polk County, where they are well into fruit development. Effective chill was definitely less than 20 hours before the trees began blooming.

2016-7-chill-polk

NPR just did a nice story on chill accumulation problems in California (where I now live) and growers there have been battling the weather and accumulation of chill for many years:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/01/25/510571835/if-these-trees-dont-get-time-to-chill-farmers-will-be-out-on-a-limb?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=science&utm_medium=social&utm_term=nprnews

One solution to these lower chill accumulations lies in breeding, and breeding for lower chill or no-chill peach varieties. Dr. Jose Chaparro, stone fruit breeder at UF is working on this with a seedling evaluation and advanced selection plot in Fort Pierce, FL at the Indian River Research and Education Center.

Georgia Peach Blog

Finally – in the absence of regular posts from me and Florida – my friend and colleague, Dr. Dario Chavez and the UGA peach team have a great blog that can be found here:

http://blog.extension.uga.edu/peaches/

I hope that you’ll check it out!

Cheers!

-Dr. Mercy Olmstead

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One thought on “Peach Marketing Project & Warm Winters

  1. Thank you for keeping in touch. Regardless of the low chill we have fruit already set on UF Best and Sun in Lithia. Last year we underestimated the quantity of the set and we were re-thinning weeks before harvest despite very low chill hours. Marketing is a second tier problem for central FL peach growers, with number one being the lack of wholesale brokers. We don’t know whether their is a market since we do not have a path to the major chains re: no brokers. A major peach industry in FL will not be possible without this link to the market. You picks and local fruit stands will not support any sizable plantings. I would trade all of the marketing for one broker.

    James Robinson Sun Robin Horticulture, Inc. Lithia, FL

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