Enquirer Herald

Peach farmers expect small crop, few pick-your-own fruits

Candice Zegilla, a manager at the Peach Tree, checks out peaches that will ripen later this summer. The farm lost about 60 percent of its crop in a March freeze.
Candice Zegilla, a manager at the Peach Tree, checks out peaches that will ripen later this summer. The farm lost about 60 percent of its crop in a March freeze. news@enquirerherald.com

Farmers say they’ll harvest a smaller crop of peaches and few pick-your-own varieties this year, due to a spring freeze that killed many varieties.

“I’ve got about 60 percent of my crop of peaches,” said Ben Smith, owner of The Peach Tree on U.S. 321 between York and Clover.

Several other peach farmers said their crops suffered similar losses from the overnight freeze in late March, when temperatures dropped into the low 20s, creating conditions that are more the norm for January than late March.

Western York County peach farmers said their stands will still carry fresh peaches even if the local peach crop is damaged. The produce stands bring in peaches from other parts of the state when necessary to supplement a small local crop.

However, buyers who want to pluck their own peaches from the trees, a favorite summer activity for many people, are likely to find few opportunities to do that in the coming months.

Smith said he isn’t certain his farm will offer any pick-your-own peaches this year. “We might have some around the middle of August, but I’m not promising anybody anything,” he said.

Beth White, daughter of Black’s Peaches owner Arthur Black, said that farm won’t pick peaches until late June, “but our later varieties fared pretty well.”

White said Black’s Peaches might offer some pick-your-own peaches in July. “We will have White Ladies and Red Havens, and we might have some pick-your-own of those,” she said.

Sam Hall at Bush-n-Vine said the farm has a light crop of June peaches, but he expects a decent crop in July. He said they will supplement the sale of local peaches by bringing in peaches from a farm in Johnston.

“There are some varieties we’ve got a pretty good crop on,” Hall said. “Those are the freestones.”

Hall said Bush-n-Vine isn’t planning to have any pick-your-own peaches. However, he said the farm is preparing to have pick-your-own for both blueberries and blackberries.

Jennifer Becknell •  803-329-4077

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