Peach season ends soon

Published 10:06 pm Monday, August 10, 2009

It wasn’t great, but it could have been worse.

That’s how Bobby Boozer, a horticulturist at the Chilton Research and Extension Center, described this year’s peach season.

Boozer said most farmers were able to sale slightly less than half of their crops this year.

“It varies every year,” Boozer said. “Sixty percent or 65 percent would be good, when you drop to 50 or below, it is a mediocre season.”

Farmers lost a good portion of their crop to weather and disease.

A late season freeze the first week of April damaged between 35 to 40 percent of the crop, Boozer estimates.

Subsequent warm, moist and humid weather also made battling bacteria a bigger problem this year than previous ones.

While some diseases only affect the appearance of the peach, ugly fruit doesn’t sell as well. More severe diseases, such as brown rot, can quickly cause huge crop losses.

Those craving homegrown peaches better get some soon – the fruit will only be available for a few more weeks.

“We’ve got some growers with markets that will still have fruit in September,” Boozer said. “But the majority of the orchards that handle basket fruits start wrapping up at the middle part of August or the latter part of the month.”

The typical peach season runs from mid-May through mid-August.