FLORIDA ORCHARDISTS GET PEACHES CERTIFIED for Shipment to TEXAS

What Sunshine State Growers Need to Know about the ‘Participant Pathway to Peaches’ Program and How to Enroll

CREDIT
by MICHAELA STALNAKER

TEXAS CONSUMERS can now experience the pleasure of delicious southeastern peaches from Florida’s harvest. Unlike California, Flor­ida’s subtropical climate creates smaller, yet sweeter and juicier tree-ripened peaches. The demand for these peach varieties are growing, but one pest stands in the way: the Caribbean Fruit Fly. Peaches are the preferred host for this Caribfly, resulting in stricter export pro­tocols for Florida orchards. Consequently, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) created a program called “Participant Pathway to Peaches” that allows peach growers to ship their harvest to Texas. It requires a minimum of 40 acres be trapped weekly at $3.50 per acre. In order for your harvest to qualify for certification, you must follow all scheduled protocols required by FDACs. Here’s how it works:

Phase 1: Grower Participation

  • Step 1: Submit your application for certification.
  • Step 2: Remove non-commercial host plants.
  • Step 3: Sign your Peach Protocol agreement in order to have traps in place.
  • Step 4: Begin the protocol’s bait spray program at least 28 days prior to harvest.

Phase 2: Harvester

  • Step 1: Sign a compliance agreement no less than one week before harvest.
  • Step 2: Have your harvest inspected at least one business day before harvest.
  • Step 3: Follow compliance agreement requirements.
  • Step 4: Transport your fruit to the packinghouse using the guidelines set aside.

Phase 3: Packinghouse

  • Step 1: At least 30 days before packing, you or a packinghouse representative must call the protocol office to initiate survey for qualification.
  • Step 2: Sign your compliance agreement.
  • Step 3: Call the protocol office one business day before packing to schedule an inspection.
  • Step 4: Once the fruit has arrived, the Designated Parcel Identification will be verified against the trapping report. Follow all compliance agreement requirements.

Following these steps will result in your fruit becoming certified for shipment to Texas. You’ll be able to make more money by expanding your market and filling the rising demand for Florida peaches.

If you are a grower, harvester, or packinghouse that is interested in participating, please contact the protocol office. Email Denise.Marshall@FreshFromFlorida.com for information on submit­ting new parcels for monitoring and certification