Peach Growers Fear Cold Snap - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/6/07-Longview

Peach Growers Fear Cold Snap

     A projected cold Easter weekend could end up being a serious problem for local peach farmers. A Sunday frost could mean losing a lot of their livelihood.  Mike Hill has 30 acres that he counts on to produce peaches every year.

    "When we don't have a lot of peaches , nobody has a lot of peaches" says Hill.

      Peach crops are a multi-million dollar industry in east Texas, but the threat of a late spring frost has many worried about this years harvest.

     "I remember when we were kids we'd have bumper crops every year but seems like the weathers changed over the last 10 or 15 years its hit or miss" says Mike.

      Hill's family has run Hills orchards outside of Big Sandy for 40 years and says it's a tenuous business at the mercy of nature.

     "Weathers always a factor you know last two years we haven't had a lot of water late freezes not enough cold weather that sets the fruit" he says.

     Weather conditions like hail and frost can not only decrease the yield in delicate fruits like peaches they also create imperfections, something that shoppers don't like to buy.

    "When people go to the grocery store they want that stuff looking pretty and all nice and a lot of it is thrown away" Hill says.

      Some of his early crop was damaged by hail. And a late freeze or frost could take the rest. They'll burn smudge pots to warm the peach trees. But there's very little else they can do.

   "It takes so much fire to do it, you have to move the air warm the air temperature over such a big area. Wait till may and I'll tell you how we did" Hill says.

      East Texas peaches are traditionally available in late April and early May.

  Reported By Bob Hallmark: bhallmark@kltv.com .

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