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How to Ship Peaches

Peaches are a summertime delicacy in the United States, making the business of how to ship them an increasingly important task each year. Americans on average eat roughly 95 pounds of fresh fruit per capita, with two pounds being peaches. With production ramping up each summer in the U.S., it is important to stay up to date on the best practices for transporting this sweet fruit from orchard to market.

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When to Harvest Peaches

All produce items must be handled with care when it comes time to harvest. Ensuring proper care and understanding the fruit or vegetables that are being grown is paramount in harvesting profitable produce. There are a variety of factors that go into when and why peaches are ready to be harvested. Peaches are typically ready to be picked anywhere from late-June through the end of August. In this window, farmers and growers are looking for a change in the fruit’s color as it is a great indicator of maturity. When the bottom of the fruit’s color changes from green to completely yellow, the peach is ready to be picked.

Peaches can be particular when it comes to reaching optimal ripeness. The fruit should hang as long as needed to reach peak flavor and sugar content but not long enough to fall victim to disease or bird and insect damage. Determining when to harvest peaches also depends on when and where the fruit is headed once its off the tree. If the yield going to experience a quick turnaround from harvest to market, the peaches should be allowed to ripen as long as possible. If a few days or even a week is needed between harvest and market, peaches should be picked sooner. Once picked, the fruit will begin its delayed ripening process thanks to the natural hormone ethylene. Ethylene can be dangerous to some fruits and vegetables, so certain produce shipments should not be consolidated.

How to Package Peaches to Ship

Another indicator of a ripe peach is the firmness of the fruit. As it becomes more ripe, the flesh of the peach will begin to develop a “give,” meaning it will slowly become less firm. Due to this characteristic, it is important to package and store peaches in a precise manner in order to avoid bruising and advanced ripening. Once harvested, peaches will need to undergo a process called “hydrocooling.” This will remove the field heat, halting the ripening of the fruit before it is packaged for shipment. Hydrocooling consists of two methods, running cold water over the fruit, or using fans to circulate cold air among the fruit. Once cooled, peaches should remain at a constant temperature of 31-32 degrees Fahrenheit and in a 90-95 percent humidity range, this includes during transit.

When its time to package harvested peaches, it is recommended to use corrugated fiberboard boxes or lugs. These shipping crates should be equipped with breathing holes and should be loaded lengthwise and palletized. Breathing holes and pallets will allow for proper circulation throughout the fruit’s transit. When peaches are ready for shipping, temperatures should remain between 31-32 degrees Fahrenheit and should not dip or exceed these parameters. As is the case with most produce items, temperature control is crucially important. In the event temperatures fluctuate, the fruit could experience chilling injury or over ripening, and each will hinder sales once transported to market.

Where Peaches Are Grown and Ship in the U.S.

Peaches are gown in roughly 20 U.S. states and are shipped both domestically and internationally. California leads the U.S. in peach production, grossing nearly 505,000 tons in 2021. Following California, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey round out the top five states in 2021. In total, 688,800 tons of peaches were produced domestically in 2021 with California leading the way with over two-third of the overall production.

World Peach Production (Tons)

World Peach Exports (USD)

  • Spain: US$971.2 million (40.5% of total exported peaches)
  • Turkey: $152.1 million (6.4%)
  • China: $135.1 million (5.6%)
  • Chile: $131.7 million (5.5%)
  • Italy: $124.2 million (5.2%)
  • United States: $123.4 million (5.2%)
  • Greece: $115.9 million (4.8%)
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Peach Tariffs to Know Before Shipping

Peaches continue to be an extremely popular fruit across the world. With this popularity comes the need to grow and outsource production on a global scale. Peaches fall under the Harmonized System Code (HS) Chapter 08 for edible fruit and nuts (080930). The average tariff for peaches in 2018, otherwise preserved or prepared, was 25.8 percent. Austria (127%), Turkey (58%), Oman (51.3%), and Angola (50%) had the highest tariffs while  Mauritius (0%), Hong Kong (0%), Maldives (0%), Singapore (0%), and Switzerland (0%) had the lowest. Between 2008-2020, the United States imported more peaches from Chile than any other country while Canada received the most peach exports from the U.S. Stateside, California was the leading state importer while Pennsylvania was the top destination state. Peaches ranked 2,283rd our of 5,832 total imports while being the 1,170th ranked export.

2022 U.S. Peach Import/Export Rankings

Top Countries Importing from U.S.

  • Canada ($73,676,616)
  • Mexico ($24,465,546)
  • Taiwan ($13,604,795)
  • Australia ($4,726,804)

Top Countries Exporting to U.S.

  • Chile ($60,978,349)
  • Mexico ($365,237)
  • Greece ($158,411)
  • Argentina ($157,790)

Ship Peaches with FreightCenter

Shipping peaches, or any produce, can be a complicated process. This leads to many farmers and sellers searching for the safest and most efficient way to ship their produce. And this is where a third-party logistics provider (3PL) like FreightCenter can help. FreightCenter’s team of trusted and knowledgeable shipping experts can help can help find the best carrier with the lowest rates for any and all shipments of peaches. Interested in learning about shipping accessorials that can make the overall shipping process even easier? Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 8007167608 or run a free online freight quote today!

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