SummerHarvestWeb - Flipbook - Page 13
- Peaches, apples, eggs door to door. In that day it was horse and
With its temperate climate, and rich, loamy soil, John described
Hunterdon as an ideal region for peach production, and before
an insect blight, known as the San Jose scale, ravaged New Jersey
orchards in the early 1900s, an entire industry evolved around the
business, including railroads whose main purpose was to deliver
the peach crop to market. A few determined growers, like the
Melicks, bore the expense and hardship to save their orchards
from the blight that drove many of their fellow peach growers
into ruin, and due in large part to their efforts, the Jersey peach
was saved from extinction.
“My ancestors have been growing peaches since before the
Civil War,” John said, as we cruised the rows of broad-limbed
trees on one of their seven orchards, where they grow over 20,000
apple trees and 4,000 peach, nectarine and plum trees. The peach
trees small stature and long, low branches make them ideal for
pick-your-own operations but they look almost frail next to the
hearty apple trees that dominate Melick’s orchards (they are NJ’s
largest apple producer).
“They don’t get really large,” John explained. “You can choose
to grow apples in different root stocks and the root stocks control
the size of the tree. With peaches, we don’t have that same luxury.
There’s a basic standard peach tree size. We grow them typically
about 100 trees per acre. They don’t have the lifespan of an apple
tree, they’re usually good for 20-25 years in ideal conditions. They
are brittle and you have to be very careful not to overcrop them
– having too many peaches on a particular limb.”
We are devoted to introducing
you to the wonders of
alpacas and the many
products created from
their exceptional ﬁbers.
Visits By Appointment
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908-625-4110 • info@BluebirdFarmAlpacas.com
Young peaches in Melick’s orchard.