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peaches_500pxRALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will celebrate N.C. Peach Month in July with several special events.

While some peach orchards were hit hard by cold weather this spring, the department says there is still a lot to celebrate.

“We had an unusually cold April, which affected midseason varieties across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Early-season and late-season varieties seem to be unaffected overall, and consumers should be able to find a good selection of peaches into September.”

Consumers can celebrate N.C. Peach Month with events at the state-operated farmers markets in Charlotte, Colfax and Raleigh. Each Peach Day will feature free samples of peaches and peach ice cream. The Colfax and Raleigh events also include a peach recipe contest. Peach Days will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following dates:

July 14 – State Farmers Market, 1201 Agriculture St., Raleigh;

July 15 – Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, 2914 Sandy Ridge Road, Colfax;

July 22 – Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, 1801 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte.

North Carolina farmers grow about 70 different varieties of peaches on more than 1,000 acres. The majority of N.C. peaches are sold directly to consumers through roadside stands and farmers markets, usually within a few days of harvesting. That ensures a quality tree-ripened peach that has had time to mature and is full of flavor, Troxler said.

Consumers can find roadside stands and farmers markets near them using the department’s online directory at www.ncfarmfresh.com.