WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — Experts say the mild Texas winter hampered this year's peach crop in parts of the state.
The North Texas harvest appears to be bountiful, but growers in some other areas of the state faced challenges, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (http://bit.ly/2tBC7mE ).
Jay Hutton, with the Hutton Peach Farm in Weatherford, said the family planned to be selling fruit on Saturday at the Parker County Peach Festival.
"It's been a great year," said Hutton, 28. "We've had multiple varieties that all set this year."
On Thursday, the farm's store was filled with half-bushel boxes of peaches and workers were restocking the shelves almost as quickly as a box was sold. Workers in the past week picked 1,600 boxes of one variety of peaches and 1,000 boxes of another.
Peach trees require a certain number of chill hours to "grow, flower, and develop properly," according to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension . While there were enough chill hours in North Texas, orchards farther south and east had issues, officials said. Plants that don't get enough chill hours are slow to leaf out, leading to poorly developed fruit or no fruit at all.
For Marty Mika, H-E-B grocery chain's business development manager-produce, the lack of a peach crop in parts of Texas has meant searching for the summer fruit on both the East and West Coasts. The grocer has peaches in stores from South Carolina and California and plans to have them from Washington state later this summer.
"It's been a challenging year," Mika said. "I really feel for the Texas peach folks. It seems like they've had more challenging years than not."
Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com