Low peach crop necessitates creative selling

Published 2:09 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

With a peach crop smaller than usual for Chilton County, peach sellers at Interstate 65, Exit 205 have had to adjust to make the most out of what they can sell.

“This year’s peach crop was bad,” Todd Hayes of Todd’s Produce said. “Sometimes we don’t have enough.”

Despite possibly running out of particular varieties, Hayes said there will be peaches available through the end of summer.

Colby Jones of Durbin Farms Market said the grower they buy from has continued to bring in a steady supply.

“It really hasn’t been that drastic for us,” Jones said. “(But) the quantity has been impacted.”

He said Georgia and South Carolina may not have peaches this year, but Chilton County does.

“Some farmers were hurt more than others,” Jones said.

The limited supply has caused an increase in price on all peaches.

“The prices of everything has gone up, so that makes people more reluctant to buy or not buy as many,” Hayes said.

For the grower that supplies Durbin Farms Market, early peaches were small, so the market did not sell its usual four quart option. Jones explained that more of the peaches would fit normal making it costly to offer. Now that some of the larger peaches are coming in, they have started occasionally selling the four-quart variety again.

The 25 pound box option has also not been available as often this year.

“It depends on what variety we are picking,” Jones said.

He called this year “a learning curve” because the lack of chill hours and frost after some trees had flowered was something most have not experience before. The company has emphasized other produce to boost sales.

“We try to focus on providing as much local produce as possible,” Jones said.

He said having the café and boutique also help profits.

Usually, Todd’s Produce grows peaches for their produce store and for other produce stands. This year, the peaches are staying at Todd’s Produce.

Hayes said the business has cut business expenses where possible to help offset the decrease in profits this year.

Tomatoes and blueberries, also sold at Todd’s Produce, may be less this year as well. Hayes said rain makes these produce item burst before they can be harvested or sold.

“The weather has not been very cooperative this year,” Hayes said.

He hopes next year will be better.