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Peaches: Value-Added Food Products

Peaches: Value-Added Food Products

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Stephanie Smith, Consumer Food Safety Specialist, Washington State University, Ilce Medina-Meza, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, Girish Ganjyal, Extension Food Processing Specialist, Washington State University
Peaches are consumed as fresh fruit, as puree, mousse and smoothies, as topping for yogurt, ice cream, cereals, pancakes, or waffles, and as a filling for pies, tarts, cobblers, or strudels. They’re a very nutritious fruit, low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and a good source of dietary fiber. This publication outlines peaches as a value-added product, opening new markets, enhancing the public’s appreciation, and extending the marketing season.
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Peaches (Figure 1) are a very nutritious fruit, grown in the state of Washington, and typically harvested between the months of June through September. Peaches are consumed as fresh fruit, as puree, mousse and smoothies, as topping for yogurt, ice cream, cereals, pancakes, or waffles, and as a filling for pies, tarts, cobblers, or strudels. Washington State produced 13,100 tons of peaches in the year 2013, with a market value of $770 per ton (USDA 2014). Peaches are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They are a good source of dietary fiber. Furthermore, they have more vitamin C (11%) than nectarines and more vitamin A (7%) than pears (USDA 2015).
Peach. Fruits with leaves isolated on white background
Figure 1. Peaches can make great value-added food products.

What is a Value-Added Product?

Value-added products are defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under 7 CFR 4284.902 (Code of Federal Regulations Title 7, Chapter 4284, part 902) as follows:

  1. The agricultural commodity must meet one of the following five value-added methodologies:
  • Has undergone a change in physical state (such as making strawberries into jam or jelly).
  • Was produced in a manner that enhances the value of the agricultural commodity.
  • Is physically segregated in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of the agricultural commodity.
  • Is a source of farm or ranch-based renewable energy.
  • Is aggregated and marketed as a locally produced agricultural food product.
  1. As a result of the change in physical state or the manner in which the agricultural commodity was produced, marketed, or segregated:
  • The customer base for the agricultural commodity is expanded, and
  • A greater portion of the revenue derived from the marketing, processing, or physical segregation of the agricultural commodity is available to the producer of the commodity.

Value-added products can open new markets, enhance the public’s appreciation for farms, and extend the marketing season for farm produce.

Historical and Agronomical Overview

Peaches have been cultivated since the early days of Chinese culture. Peaches were brought to America by Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century and eventually made it to England and France in the seventeenth century. Various American Indian tribes are credited with migrating the peach tree across the United States, taking seeds along with them and planting as they roved the country. By the mid-1700s, peaches were so plentiful in the United States that botanists thought of them as native fruits. Although Thomas Jefferson had peach trees at Monticello, United States farmers did not begin commercial production until the nineteenth century in Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, and finally Virginia (Clemson 2016).

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Issued by Washington State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, and national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability; marital status or sexual orientation; and status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Trade names have been used to simplify information; no endorsement is intended.