South Georgia peach farmers disappointed in crop - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia peach farmers disappointed in crop

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June 18, 2003

Barney - Wynelle Roy is looking for sweet, juicy peaches. "I bake pies and cobblers with them, and use them for jellies," said Roy.

She finds just what she needs at Burton Brooks Peach Orchard in Barney. "I'm from Moultrie, and every time I come through here on the way to Valdosta, I stop for peaches," said Roy.

Workers at the peach shed are staying busy, but business could be better. This year, peach farmer John Dewitt only made about 25 percent of his crop. "It was a very poor season, because we like to produce about 70 percent," said Dewitt.

This year's cold winter provided plenty of chill hours, which put the season off to a good start. "At first it looked like we were going to have a great season, and many of our early varieties did do really good," said Dewitt.

But then the rains came, nearly drowning many of the plants. "That caused a lot of them to be watery, soggy, and have decay," said Dewitt.

Peach farmers in Middle Georgia had a much better season, with plenty of chill hours and ideal conditions for pollination. "They did better because they didn't get as much rain or hail, and have and weren't affected by any hard freezes," said Lynn Abbott. Even though

Dewitt lost much of his crop, the fruits that survived are prize peaches. He's hoping for lots of cold weather and moderate rain next year, to give him the luck Middle Georgia growers had this season.

posted at 1:50 by ashley.harper@walb.com