New Jersey peach farmers are expected to finish the current growing season with the nation’s second largest peach harvest, second to California, the United States Department of Agriculture said Friday.
Farmers told the USDA they expected to harvest 24,000 tons of peaches, up from 19,800 last year, when the state ranked fourth.
New Jersey’s climb in the ranking came from the misfortune of peach farmers in Georgia and South Carolina, where as much as 80 percent of the crop was wiped out by an overly warm winter and a hard freeze in the early spring.
California ranked far ahead of New Jersey last year, with 569,000 tons. Pennsylvania ranked fifth in the nation in 2016, with a peach harvest of 16,000 tons, the USDA reported. This year Pennsylvania farmers expect to harvest 19,000 tons of peaches.