South Georgia's peach crop can't get a break - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia's peach crop can't get a break

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

MORVEN, GA (WALB) - It's been a rough year for South Georgia's peach crop.

The blossoms endured two late winter freezes, and are now suffering through blazing summer temperatures. 

"What actually looked to be a good promising year--we're learning now that we're coming up way short," says Irvin Lawson, owner of Lawson Peach Shed in Morven.

Winter's late freezes hurt the crop.  In May, Irvin Lawson hoped his orchard would be able to produce just 40% of a crop.

"I was looking for 40 or better, but it's turning out to be 30-35% at the best," Lawson says.

Now, summer's smoldering temperatures in the 100's are bringing new challenges to peach growers.

"You'd better pick them everyday now, they'll get real soft in a hurry," says Lawson. 

While orchards produced fewer peaches this year, growers say business is steady. Retail sales have actually increased.

"Actually, the crowds have increased this year. It's been a great year as far as consumers--it's been great," says Irvin's wife, Barbara Lawson. 

Workers at Lawson's attribute their strong sales to the quality of their product.  They say the smaller peaches are perfect for picking.

"The varieties we're picking now, they're a very good quality--decent crop," says Irvin Lawson.

The South Georgia heat is also helping sales, bringing many people out to cool off with a local favorite:  homemade peach ice cream.

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