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Can direct-to-consumer deliver a perfect peach?

The Peach Truck Tour makes 800 stops in 33 states. That’s hardly a guy hawking boxes at a roadside stand.

ROUND ROCK, TX — A few years ago, I was a speaker at fruit growers meeting in Colorado, talking about consumer trends, and what growers can do to increase their sales at retail.

Apple growers were happy to hear I think Honeycrisp will remain dominant in the marketplace.

I didn’t have a lot of advice for peach growers, however, because even though I know Colorado peaches are exceptional, the retail distribution system is hard on stone fruit.

Growers can only do so much before sending fruit off to be at the mercy of inconsistent temperatures, improper storage, and retail displays fraught with peril.

Listen. I love peaches. I love all stone fruit. I’ve worked in produce, specifically covering the retail supply chain, for 15 years and I still can’t consistently pick a perfect peach at retail. I’m not even asking for perfect. I’m asking for edible. The last ones I got at my local retailer were mealy and flavorless.

It feels like consumers are losing faith with peaches and nectarines because they’re so inconsistent. How does the fresh produce supply chain fix this?

Enter The Peach Truck. This is not your roadside peach hawker, which are quite common here in Central Texas. Just this weekend I saw someone peddling Texas peaches on the roadside not far from where I live.

The Peach Truck is a semi trailer, beautifully branded, that requires you to sign up for a minimum of 25 pounds of peaches to pick up at a later date — usually a few weeks away. Read up on their story here. 

I’ve seen social media advertisements for The Peach Truck for the past few years, but I always bailed at checkout. It is a $45, 25-pound commitment. That’s a lot of money and a lot of peaches, especially with my recent retail failure that still stings in the back of my mind.

Right now, I’ve got 25 pounds of peaches ripening on a sheet pan in my dining room. Stay tuned for the reveal next week. I hope this works.

 

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.