Brooks County, GA (WALB) – South Georgia peach growers welcome the cold weather. Their peach trees need hundreds of chill hours to produce a good quality fruit. Some years they worry they won't get enough, but this year they're way ahead of schedule.
And when it comes to 'chill hours,' grower Irvin Lawson, who farms 400 acres of peaches, says, "The more the better. It seems like the more chill hours you have the better quality the fruit is."
And Lawson says he's already got 517 chill hours. "That's real good that's more than 100 hours than this time last year. This time last year we had 396."
They're running ahead of schedule and he says by the end of the year they could be close to 600. "800 would make every peach we got," Lawson says.
A chill hour is 45 degrees and below. As we bundle up to stay warm, these peach trees are loving these frigid temperatures as they quietly develop their fruit for next spring.
"It puts them into hibernation it puts them to sleep and while it's in that stage that bud's actually growing it's developing once it gets enough rest it's ready to produce."
While some of us don't like the cold weather, just imagine what's it's doing for the peaches. That will ensure you'll have delicious peach ice cream next summer.
The peach trees typically bloom the end of February and peach picking starts in April. He also grows nectarines. They require hundreds of chill hours too.