The peach: Storage, transportation and conservation

Almacenaje y trasporte del melocotón

Storage, transportation and conservation of peaches

The peach is a round fruit, colored in reddish and orange tones, juicy and typically summery, it is a stone fruit. Besides. It is one of the most important fruits in the world both in production and value. Its botanical name is “Drupa”. It is large, round and surrounded by thin, hairy skin.

Origin and varieties of Peach

The peach as a stone fruit is one of the most important crops in the world.

Originally from China, the origin of its cultivation dates back to more than 3000 years ago. It arrived in Europe around 300 BC. through trade routes through Greece from Persia, hence it is believed that this is its country of origin. However, it was not until the Middle Ages that its expansion to the rest of the European continent began.

Its global production is concentrated mainly in the Mediterranean area, with Spain and Italy being the countries that export the most peaches to the rest of the world. Europe and Asia correspond to more than 70% of world production.

Specifically, Spain is in fourth position in the world in peach production, with almost 1 million tons annually, allocating 70% to natural consumption, 20% to industry and 10% to export to other countries. China is the largest producer, followed by Italy, the third USA, with AM commodities being the fourth in contention.

Our main peach growing areas are the Ebro Valley, Lérida and Murcia, also mentioning the region of Extremadura.

As for the varieties of peach and nectarine, it would be very complicated to make a list with all their different varieties, since we are talking about more than a thousand different ones, so we will focus on the best known in our country:

  • Merryl: It is harvested in the middle of summer. It stands out for having a velvety deep red skin and yellow flesh.
  • Baby gold: Its color varies from yellow to reddish, with its interior flesh being red.
  • Royal Glory: Unlike the previous one, it stands out for its reddish color with yellow flesh.
  • Queen Crest: It is the variety that is harvested the earliest, at the beginning of summer. Its color is orange with yellow flesh.
  • Tyrrenia: Yellow in color and yellow interior flesh. Also early harvest.
  • Calanda: Typical of the Calanda area, hence its name, it is harvested later and its color is yellow and its flesh is yellow.
  • Catherine: Early maturing, it is native to the Murcia area, yellow in color and yellow flesh.

There are many more varieties of peach, so the best way to classify them would be by their color, specifically their skin and flesh, and they are divided between Peach and Nectarine. Both can be Red Skin (with white, yellow-red meat) or Yellow Skin (with red meat). We will soon leave you a post about the nectarine, we know that it is a popular fruit.

Peach season and harvesting for later conservation in Spain

The arrival of heat and the summer months brings with it a considerable increase in fruits such as peaches. Its high water content and refreshing flavor is what we ask for from a fruit like the peach. This is why the care and conservation of stone fruits such as peaches or nectarines is very important during this season. Let’s see how storage conditions are vital to extend the life of the product, we are always talking about a product that is very sensitive to cold. Extending the marketing period is our objective for all our clients, controlled atmosphere conditions.

The peach is a fruit that can continue its maturation separate from the tree, just like apricot, banana, mango, papaya, avocado, raspberries, grapes, etc. do. Transport conditions will be very relevant for correct conservation and must be adapted to the ripening point and type of fruit.

Although it varies depending on the variety and place of collection, it is always between the months of May and September. The harvest dates in the places of greatest peach production in Spain are:

  • Aragon: June – July – August
  • Catalonia: August – September
  • Murcia: May – June – July

These types of fruits are ideal for enduring the long hot days of summer, especially in countries like Spain with a warm climate, thanks to their great hydration capacity.

Furthermore, due to their large amount of vitamins and minerals, as well as their low caloric intake, these fruits make very beneficial foods for the body, since 90% of their weight is nothing more than water. If we add to this its great flavor and sweetness, we find ourselves with one of the best choices to make our summers more bearable.

Since peaches are harvested at normally high temperatures and in dry climates in the field, they must go through a process known as pre-refrigeration, which will help control their post-harvest temperature and prepare them for subsequent storage at their optimal temperature. conservation thus extending its durability.

Peach storage for distribution

The relevance of a logistics warehouse for the conservation of Peaches is key since the large volume of production of this fruit often cannot be assumed in the market and for this it is required to store it in cold storage rooms to extend its useful life. Antonio Marco has refrigerated warehouses for the storage of peaches, as well as its refrigerated trucks that allow us to control the conditions of the merchandise that will be stored and transported.

Given that the peach season and its variants occurs in the summer months, and that we are faced with a very perishable product with a very short post-harvest life, it is vital to extend its marketing stage as much as possible and, therefore, its post-harvest life. Hence, we increasingly see storage at more aggressive temperatures.

To do this, it is necessary to slow down metabolic processes and the consumption of reserves of the fruit itself as much as possible. This is achieved with correct post-harvest handling taking into account the following factors:

  • Degree of maturity: It is essential to collect the fruit at its perfect degree of ripeness, since this directly influences its final quality.
  • Temperature: The harvesting of stone fruits usually occurs at high temperatures in the field, which is why it is important that this is controlled by pre-refrigeration to cool agricultural products and then refrigerate them at 0-0.5º, which would be the Optimum storage temperature for peaches.
  • Damage: Both the handling and transportation of peaches must be very careful when we seek to extend their commercial life as long as possible. Furthermore, its surface will be more affected depending on its degree of maturity and storage temperature, since, at a higher temperature and a higher degree of maturity, it will be easier for it to suffer scratches.
  • Alterations: Given that the peach is a climacteric fruit, that is, it continues to ripen even after being harvested, after acclimatizing it to its optimal temperature, resistance to microbial attacks is reduced.
  • Humidity: The loss of hydration of plant products after harvest is an inevitable fact, which is why it is essential to maintain an environment of high humidity (90-95%) in their conservation.
  • Ethylene: This plant hormone is directly involved in the fruit ripening process. That is why ventilation is used in their storage chambers, preventing their accumulation.

At Antonio Marco we are familiar with all the essential conditions and requirements for peach storage; As long as all these factors are kept in mind, optimal conservation can be achieved and its quality and distinctive characteristics kept intact. The strategic location of Antonio Marco allows it to cover the needs of producers in Spain, thanks especially to its cold rooms, for those producers and marketers in Murcia and Alicante.

Peach transport in Spain and Europe

As with any type of fruit and vegetables, the conditions, especially temperature and humidity during transportation, are essential for their perfect conservation.

But, how is this stone fruit transported?

The terrestrial medium continues to be the most effective and used for the transport of this type of products, since it is the one that most facilitates the creation of an optimal atmosphere to keep it in good condition.

At Antonio Marco we have the following special services differentiated by those countries to which Spain exports peaches the most:

Conservación del melocotón
  • Transport of peaches from Spain to Germany.
  • Transport of peaches from Spain to France.
  • Transport of peaches from Spain to Belgium.
  • Transport of peaches from Spain to Austria.
  • Transport of peaches from Spain to the Netherlands.

Refrigerated trucks, like the ones we use at Antonio Marco, allow optimal control of the temperature and humidity necessary to recreate the conditions required by a climacteric fruit such as peaches, since the interior of their chambers can range from 12º to -20º Celsius, keeping it somewhat above the 0.5º C that the peach requires.

It is very important to avoid perspiration of the peach as it causes a decrease in the weight of the pieces. Not only is temperature important, but humidity, packaging and the air that circulates between the products also have an impact.

Furthermore, not only a controlled temperature and humidity are key for optimal conservation and transportation of the peach, but a logistics center with the characteristics of our Alicante center, located on the A7, in the Pol. Ind de la Granadina connected with ALDI and Mercadona