Early peaches are showing up at local fruit stands and farmers markets, with later varieties to come. But there are vegetables, too, including squash and green beans with sweet corn avail able until fall.
“We have peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, sweet corn, green beans, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, early Lodi apples — an old-time tart apple good for making apple sauce or for pies,” said Nancy Blevins of Blevins Fruit Farm in Hope well Township.
More good news: The always popular doughnut peaches, also known as Saturn peaches, should be available this week she said.
It is much the same just down the road at Shaw Orchards, where shoppers will find blueberries, early peaches, cantaloupes and many of the same vegetables.
“The peaches are juicy and sweet, and we’ll have other varieties in the next few weeks,” Mary Sue Shaw said.
Brown’s Orchard & Farm Market in Springfield Town ship has most of the fresh fruits and vegetables we associate with summer in York County.
“We have early peaches and, in a few days, we will have doughnut peaches,” produce stocker Erin Ashby said. “We have early summer apples, blueberries, pears, plums and apricots — and pluots, a cross between a plum and an apricot.”
Sweet corn is just one of the vegetables available at Lehman’s Orchards & Road side Market in York Town ship, where shoppers will also find early peaches and other fruit.
“Peaches are available now, with more varieties coming in, and we have nectarines and plums, tomatoes and squash and zucchini and sweet corn,” owner Dave Lehman said.
In August, he will have different varieties of peaches and early apples, with more apples to come in September.
Lehman said there is a lot of confusion over the difference between local and organic produce. While the fruits and vegetables Lehman sells are grown in his orchards and on his farm, they are local but are not organic, he said.
“There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about what is local and what is organic. What we grow and what most local farmers grow is good, healthy food, and while it is not organic we do not use things that are harmful,” Lehman said. “I would not send my son into the or chard to pick fruit if there was something harmful.”
Local farmers depend on local business to make a living and they would not do anything to harm their families, their workers or their customers, and just because it is not organic does not mean it is harmful, he said.
“What we grow is safe, otherwise I would not be selling it,” Dave Lehman said.
Eggplant and squash, cu cumbers and green beans, sweet corn and watermelons, peaches and plums are avail able at Raab Fruit Farms in York Township, owner Jane Lehman said.
“It is important to support local farmers and we need to educate people that local homegrown is only here for a short time and weather conditions determine a lot,” she said.
Some shoppers have what she calls a “supermarket mentality,” meaning if a fresh fruit or vegetable is available in the supermarket, some think that means it is grown locally and available from local growers.
“Supermarkets sell things shipped from around the country and from other countries. Cherry season is over in York County. The cherries you find in grocery stores now are shipped from Washington State. The strawberries you see in the stores now are shipped from somewhere else. Our strawberry season is over,” Jane Lehman said.
In addition to learning about the growing season of local crops, it is also good to consider the weather. For ex ample, while we are seeing a bumper crop of sweet corn thanks to the hot and rainy weather, tomatoes do not do well in the extremely hot temperatures, she said.
“Tomatoes just sort of stop growing when it is extremely hot,” Jane Lehman said. “They are a little like us when it comes to hot weather, but once we start picking them we’ll have them through the rest of the season.”