Florida farmers could find new success in peach production, thanks to Dr. Jose Chaparro, an Assistant Professor of Breeding and Genetics in the UF Horticultural Sciences Department.
Chaparro’s research on the molecular basis of peaches made it possible to develop varieties that thrive without the prolonged winter temperatures that peaches usually need to produce fruit. These peaches are ideal for the Florida climate, and they are ready to be harvested in April and May, before anywhere else in the country.
This new crop comes at a time when Florida farmers are especially vulnerable, as citrus across the state is being ravaged citrus greening. Though Florida currently only has a few thousand acres of peach orchards, the payoff of an exclusive season and the decreasing value of the citrus industry could lead to a boom of Florida peach production in the near future.