Just peachy enough

Rosa Parra, 9, helps fill a bin of an early variety of local peach at the 
Mt. Garfield Fruits and Vegetables stand near Palisade. The stand enjoyed brisk business this past weekend after cherries, apricots — and peaches — arrived.

It’s no secret: We love peaches.

So when a cruel cold snap this spring wiped out many of this year’s early peaches, folks took notice.

As other more cold-hardy peach varieties begin to hit roadside market stands and farmers markets in the next couple weeks, some growers hope those sales can make up for a slow start to the fruit and vegetable selling season.

Bruce Herman of Herman Produce, 753 Elberta Ave. in Palisade, said their cotton-candy pink stand just off Interstate 70 hasn’t yet received the influx of visitors as in years past.

While they have a limited amount of early peaches, the good news is there will be plenty of the luscious fruits for locals in coming weeks. The company is not selling peaches to wholesale distributors this year because of the shortages.

“We have high hopes. It’s going to be a better year than we thought,” he said. “We’ll have a good local crop here in a couple weeks.”

The dozens of fruit and veggie stands around the Grand Valley rely on the draw from peaches and tomatoes to get folks in the door. Once there, buyers tend to shop around for other fruits and veggies.

It also isn’t helpful that most of area’s cherries and apricots succumbed to the frost. Those fruits are usually in abundance this time of year.

However, some local stands feature those treats after purchasing them from orchards in areas around Delta and Paonia.

On Saturday, Mt. Garfield Fruit and Vegetable Stand, 3371 Front St., finally saw a healthy dose of customers come through. The stand has cherries and apricots and a limited selection of Paul Friday peaches, an early variety.

“Everything’s late because of the weather,” said a woman who was working there.

“I was getting worried,” she added, about a lack of customers recently.

Alida Helmer of Alida’s Fruits, 3402 C 1/2 Road, said the stand had some early peaches earlier this week, but sold out. Tomatoes should be for sale there this week.

“I think it’s been a littler slower, but I’ve had a lot of people stop here today,” she said from her stand. “I can’t say that we’ve been swamped.”

Lee DeVries of DeVries Farm Market, 31 1/2 C Road, confirmed that most people first seek peaches when out shopping for local produce. They will have them soon.

“That is the draw,” DeVries said. “Then they pick up other stuff.”


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