Flavor, Quality & Hydrocooling

One of the major reasons for the high quality and flavor of New Jersey peaches is the practice of water or hydrocooling on every farm that harvests peaches for the wholesale market. 
Because most New Jersey peach orchards are close to major mark ets in the United States, peaches can be picked well-mature when their color, flavor, and sugar are high. While there are many components of flavor, sugar is one of the most important. New Jersey peaches, depending on many factors, are picked when they are ripe and 10% to 18% sugar. A peach, actually any stone fruit, will not increase in sugar after it is harvested so growers must find a way to retain sugar.​cooling peaches
The process of cooling with water, known as hydrocooling, helps retain sugars by slowing down the respiration and oxidation of sugars.  Most growers have state of the art hydro coolers where peaches are harvested at high temperatures and quickly cooled.  Since most high sugar New Jersey peaches are harvested from July 10 to September 15 when air temperatures are above 80º F; the pulp temperatures may be 80º F.  Fruit harvested in peach bins are quickly shaded and transported to a hydrocooler where the pulp temperature is bought down to near 30º F.  This temperature is maintained throughout the packing, storage and transport.
New Jersey peaches don't have to be pre-conditioned because they are well matured at harvest. This high flavor and quality is maintained throughout harvest handling and storage. When the consumer gets a Jersey Fresh peach it will have all the components of optimum quality and can be held at room temperature until the consumer is ready to eat it.  Dead ripe New Jersey peaches can be put back in the refrigerator until needed to hold their quality. Hydrocooling is part of the reason.
- from New Jersey Peach Buyers Guide, 2012, Jerome Frecon, Agricultural Agent, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension