• 72°

An historic year for Chilton County

According to several local peach growers interviewed by The Clanton Advertiser, 2010 will go down in the history books as a bumper season for Chilton County’s most recognized crop.

As farmers of any type of fruit or vegetable know, much can happen to aversely affect a crop: It can rain too much or too little, we can experience a late freeze that damages trees or not have enough chill hours during the winter, and any number of diseases or insects can ruin the crop.

But, sometimes, all the variables come together in just the right way to produce perfect peaches, and this looks like one of those years. In fact, E.L. Buddy Lawley, the 86-year-old owner of Lawley’s Chilton County Peaches on Highway 82, can’t remember a better year.

“The crops have been perfect,” Lawley said. “This is the best crop year I believe I’ve ever seen.”

Such a crop is, of course, good for local peach growers, especially if sales are as good as the quality of the fruit. It’s also good for Chilton County, in the form of sales tax paid by out-of-towners.

The impact of the peach goes even further, though, because the fruit is so synonymous with the county. A good crop reinforces in the minds of travelers that Chilton County offers the best peaches in the world–and keeps them coming back for more, year after year.

And right on time to capitalize on the momentum created by this year’s peach crop is the county’s annual Peach Festival. The festivities have already begun, with the Peach Classic high school baseball tournament at Clanton’s Jack Hayes Field beginning Thursday and concluding Saturday.

The Festival will really heat up next Saturday, June 19, with the Peach Run and the Peach Classic fishing tournament.

If the Peach Festival goes over like this year’s peach crop, 2010 could be a year long remembered in Chilton County.