NC State Extension

Postharvest Handling

N.C. peaches are primarily sold tree-ripened, fresh-picked from roadside stands and farmers markets.

North Carolina peaches are sold through fresh markets, a large percentage of them through roadside stands and farmers markets. Little, if any marketing is done through large grocery store chains. Therefore, peach growers do not rely on refrigeration to store harvested fruit. Growers instead focus on sales and marketing to get fresh, tree-ripened peaches in the hands of their customers.

A few pointers for high quality fresh fruit from the orchard:

  • Use clean picking containers and storage boxes.
  • Cull damaged and diseased fruit.
  • Harvest in early morning or late evening when fruit temperature is lower.
  • Depending on supply and demand, pick up to, but no more than, two to four days before fully ripe. Fruit will continue to ripen with no affect on taste.