Weatherford Democrat

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April 18, 2013

Freezes leave peach crops less than peachy

Festival organizers say event will go on

By BRIAN SMITH

While the peach crop in the county is not exactly “peachy” the crop was not totally destroyed by a very hard freeze late last month.

Parker County Extension Agent Jon Green said this year’s crop will not be a “bumper crop,” thanks in part to freezes in late March. Lows in the mid-20s on both March 25 and 26, just as many peach trees were beginning to or completely had blooms “knocked back” the crop.

Green said growers took a wait-and-see approach to determine the extent of the damage. Many of the Ranger peaches, which are available here, do have an extended blooming time and appear to be in “good shape” after talking with growers.

Green said several other varieties of peaches might still be available, depending on how hard the freeze damaged individual trees.

“We’ll have a few trees that are bearing no fruit at all, but if those blooms were delayed in opening we will be able to have some peaches on those trees as well,” Green said. “There will be a few peaches around but will it be an abundant crop? The answer is no.”

This is bad news for a major Parker County festival: the annual Peach Festival in July, which draws thousands of visitors to the downtown Weatherford area. Chamber of Commerce officials, which sponsor the annual event, say the event will go on as planned.

“We’ve received some inquiries about how a smaller peach crop might change our plans and the answer is easy — our plans won’t change at all,” Tammy Gazzola, Weatherford Chamber of Commerce president, said. “We don’t yet know how the dip below the freezing point has affected our peaches locally. Regardless, we expect one of the biggest and best peach festivals ever on July 13.”

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