Nectarines

Updated by: Gina Marzolo, graduate student of Agricultural Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, grmarzolo@cpp.edu, July 2015.

By Dr. Greg McKee, professor of business and applied economics, North Dakota State University, gregory.mckee@ndsu.edu, June 2012.

Introduction

Nectarines are often used in the same way as peaches and are often considered as substitutes for peaches. One main difference between peaches and nectarines is the lack of fuzz on the nectarine skin. Nectarines also tend to be smaller, firmer, more aromatic than peaches, and exhibit a deeper red color on the fruit surface (Wen, et al, 1995).

Marketing Channels

The marketing season for nectarines is from late April to mid October. Nearly 100 percent of U.S. nectarine production is destined for the fresh sector. In 2014, fresh-market nectarines were valued at $870 per ton (NASS, 2015). The value of nectarines was almost $182 million in 2014, an increase of 48.6 percent from the previous year (approximately $122 million in 2013) (ERS, 2015). Nectarines are mostly sold through supermarket avenues, but can also be sold locally at certified farmers’ markets or farm stands. Other ways to add value to nectarines could be processing them into products such as baby food or incorporating them into juices and frozen products. Second-hand consumers have processed nectarines into beauty products, soaps, and candles (Etsy, 2015).

Production

In 2014, almost 94 percent of the nectarines grown in the United States came from California (196,000 tons); the other 6 percent came from Washington (12,800 tons). In California, the yield of nectarines per acre was 9.33 tons. In Washington, the yield of nectarines per acre was 8 tons. The total bearing acreage for nectarines was 22,600 (NASS, 2015).

Exports

The available data combines peaches and nectarines. China, the European Union and the United States dominate world production, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service. Canada, Mexico and Taiwan are the three main destinations for United States exports of peaches/nectarines (FAS, 2014).

Imports

For nectarines to be available year round, the United States imports them during their off season. Chile is the largest exporter of peaches/nectarines to the United States (FAS, 2014).

Management

Nectarines thrive in a Mediterranean climate of long, hot summers and cool winters. Nectarines require a certain amount of chilling hours (number of hours that the temperature is below 45° F) to induce flowering. Nectarines need anywhere from 600 chilling hours for low-chill varieties to 900 chilling hours for high-chill varieties. Sufficient summer heat is needed for the fruit to ripen properly. Nectarines mature between mid-spring and the beginning of fall. Commercially, the fruit is harvested just as the skin changes from green to yellow before the fruit is too soft and subject to bruising and rapid decay (UC-IPM, 2014).

Sources

Etsy - a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods.

Fresh Peach/Nectarine: 2014/15 Highlights, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), USDA, 2014.

Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, 2015.

Management of Nectarines and Peaches, University of California – Integrated Pest Management (UC-IPM), 2014.

Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2015.

Wen, I., et al. Comparing Fruit and Tree Characteristics of Two Peaches and Their Nectarine Mutants (1995). J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 119: 101-106.

Businesses/Case Studies

  • HMC Farms – Harold McClarty and Mike Jensen founded HMC Farms in 1987. However, their families have owned and farmed the land since 1887. Located in California’s Central Valley, HMC Farms produces tree fruit and grapes, and has a strong team of agricultural and marketing experts.
  • Masumoto Family Farm – The Masumoto Family Farm has been in operation since 1948, and is currently ran by Mas Masumoto and his family. In 1987, the farm became certified organic. They produce peaches, nectarines and grapes. The family strongly believes that part of the power of food lays in the stories it carries and the exchanges it invites when people eat together.

Links checked July 2015.