Peaches thrive despite cold weather | News
One trademark Georgia crop is finding better odds this season, even with a couple of bouts of what most Central Georgians consider brutal weather.
Mark Sanchez, the CEO of Lane Southern Orchards knows a lot about peaches, including how much it hurts to lose a big harvest.
He said, "Easter morning 2007 we lost our entire crop. 2008, the week after Easter, we lost about half of it."
That's because of freezing temperatures. Sanchez says the peaches weren't fully mature and were just about the size of golf balls.
Right now, they are just starting to bloom.
Peaches need chill hours, or spans of time when the weather is under 45 degrees between mid-October and mid-February. This type of peach needs at least 650 to 850 chill hours.
Sanchez says this season, they had almost 1300 chill hours, which is excellent.
He says that while the chill hours this season, were superb, the next 30 days are the most crucial. That's because after these peach blossoms fall off, little peach buds start to grow, and they're the most susceptible to cold weather.
"We had a little event last night where we had some cold weather but it was only about 28 to 30 degrees which is not bad," Sanchez said.
The next few weeks will be spent preparing for the bearing season.
"We'll prune the trees back to where we just have fruiting wood, and then after the bloom, the peaches have set, and then we'll thin those peaches," he explained, "We'll actually take peaches off the tree, and leave just the right number of peaches on each tree."
And those peaches will be ready to eat in May.
Lane Southern Orchards hosts a Peach Blossom Festival tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. That's at 50 Lane Road in Fort Valley.
There will be food vendors, kids games, and tours to see the blooming peach trees.