FMO Press Release: Peach season has sprung early across the Ozarks and peaches have officially arrived to Farmers Market of the Ozarks (FMO). Although peach season is typically around June 11 in Missouri, consumers will find local peaches at market starting this Thursday, May 24, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“We experienced the warmest March on record this year,” stated Market Manager Lane McConnell. “A mild winter and early spring has put all produce ahead of schedule and consumers will find many of their favorite products earlier than normal at market.”
FMO inspects all businesses and farms and McConnell said that on a recent farm inspection to a local orchard she viewed peaches that were ready for the picking and others that were about two weeks away. McConnell said that the weather will play a major role in how this year’s peach crop produces.
Roberson Orchards of Omaha, Ark., has grown peaches for 35 years and offers nine different varieties. “This year’s crop looks very good and we starting picking one week ago,” said Scott Lambeth, with Roberson Orchards. “As long as there is no significant damaging weather we should pick peaches into late August.”
Roberson Orchards is located a little south of Springfield, Mo., right over the Missouri/Arkansas state line, therefore the season starts a bit earlier. Ozark Mountain Orchard in Highlandville, Mo., on the other hand is on the edge of picking peaches.
“We will start picking our semi-freestones in a week and a half to two weeks and freestones will be a little over 3 weeks,” explained Krystal Lais with Ozark Mountain Orchard. “With the mild winter we are running about 3 weeks early on everything. We had to thin more than normal because there were so many peaches on the trees.”
Lais said peach trees are thinned in order to get better size and increased sweetness. She expects an above average crop this year, as long as the “weather cooperates and there is no hail.”
The peach season varies each year, but harvest typically takes place from June through August. Cling peaches are those whose flesh clings to the pit, generally ripen in June. Semi-freestones, are not quite as clingy, usually ripen in late June. And Freestones, whose flesh readily separates from the pit, generally ripen in June and July. FMO encourages customers to ask farmers questions about their peach harvest and variety.
Come and celebrate peach season in the Ozarks this week at FMO on Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There will be cooking demos starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday to help consumers make dinner plans for the upcoming Memorial weekend.
Farmers Market of the Ozarks is a non-profit organization that offers consumers a full-range of locally grown farm products from a 150 mile radius of Springfield. Items include: vegetables, fruits, pasta, meat, jams, jellies, salsa, eggs, cheeses, yogurt, baked goods, honey, artisan crafts and an assortment of concessions. FMO operates Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., year-round. Farmers Market of the Ozarks operates a vibrant farmers market that contributes to the success of local food growers and producers, strengthens the local food economy and serves as a community gathering place for the Ozarks region. For more go online to LoveYourFarmer.com, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @FMOzarks.