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March 18, 2008
Brooks County - Irvin Lawson is watching the weather closely because Easter weekend usually brings him bad luck. "Easter comes up Sunday so hopefully we'll make it through Easter. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that we are out of the cold."
For the last three years a late freeze has devastated his crop. The worst came last year when an Easter freeze killed nearly half the peaches in his orchard.
"We usually get a late freeze. Last year we got a freeze on April 8. The year before we got a late freeze."
He's hoping the crop will rebound this year but things aren't off to the best start.
"We have some concern for 2008. We weren't sure if we'd get enough chill hours to make a crop. Mid January and February we started getting a lot of chill hours," Lawson says. "However, on February 28th, we got down to 25 degrees and we have three varieties that got hurt very bad."
Lawson estimates the cold weather killed 30% of his crop but he says the outlook for the year is still looking good."
He hopes the other 70% of his crop will make it to harvest. That is, if the peaches can make it through the weekend.
"If we get through Easter we'll be looking at a pretty decent crop I think."
The freeze danger usually passes at the end of March but Lawson says he'll still have to worry about rain, hail and anything else mother nature may bring until his peaches are ready for the picking.