Peach Season Varies by Variety and Region
Have you ever bitten into a store-bought peach with high expectations only to be sadly disappointed by the lackluster flavor? If you grow and harvest your own peaches, you need never have this experience again, as long as you learn how and when to harvest peaches at their peak of ripeness.
Peach Picking Season Around the Country
Peaches are generally ready for harvest 10 to 12 weeks after the trees bloom.
Early season peach varieties growing in warmer areas can be harvested as early as late-April and in May and June. Mid-season peaches are ready in July and August, and late season varieties growing in colder climate zones are often picked in late August through September.
Besides being affected by the variety of peach, harvest time also varies with the region of the country and the elevation where the peaches are growing.
- In California, the prime peach season begins in late June and goes into early September.
- The mild climate of Florida brings peaches in as early as late April and through May.
- Georgia peach harvests start in mid-May and extends through mid-August.
- Idaho has cold winters and a later peach season, going from late-June through the month of August.
- The cool winters of Delaware make the month of August the height of peach harvest time in this region.
How to Tell if a Peach is Ripe
The best tasting peaches come ripe from the tree, and not all fruit is ready at exactly the same time. On the same tree, you will find fruits at the peak of perfection over a period of about 10 days with those on the interior of the tree taking a bit longer to ripen-up.
The color of a ripe peach changes from dull yellow to a bright, golden yellow. Fruits receiving more sunlight often develop a rosy blush, but this may or may not happen, depending on the peach variety and the location of the fruit on the tree.
Ripe peaches also have a sweet and delicious fragrance. Don’t be shy about getting up-close and personal with a peach to check for this delectable aroma.
If the sight and smell of a peach are indicating ripeness, check for softness. Ripe peaches soften slightly, while unripe fruit is hard. Squeeze gently, so you don’t damage the fruit, and leave it on the tree for a few more days if the flesh doesn’t give a bit.
Of course, the best indication of a perfectly ripe peach is the flavor. Pick a few fruits showing signs of perfect ripeness and taste them before you fill your harvest basket.
If you pick your peaches a bit too soon, leave them on the kitchen counter for a few days to soften. They won’t be quite as good as the ones picked at the peak of perfection, but slightly unripe peaches can improve a bit.