Peaches could be hard to come by this summer


GALES FERRY, Conn. (WTNH) — In farming circles this year’s February freeze became known as the Valentine’s Day Massacre because of its effect on peach trees.

peach tree 1Russell Holmberg says a third of his peach crop was wiped out, another third saw some damage, and the last third doesn’t seem to have been affected by the Valentine’s Day deep freeze.

“I’m kind of scratching my head because the peaches bred in New Jersey fared better in the winter than the Canadian pitches the two varieties bred in Canada,” says Holmberg who owns Holmberg Orchards. “It really is just hit or miss.peach tree 2

He says the difference of a single degree can make a difference in survival.

“What was as bad as the cold temperatures which here it got down to minus nine or so, minus ten depending on where you were in the orchard, was the warm weather we had in front of it,” says Holmberg.

The Gales Ferry farmer says because of the mild December and January the peach trees weren’t acclimated to the cold and weren’t ready for the frigid February weather.

“They froze on Valentine’s Day,” Tom Scott told News 8 in early April. He owns Scott’s Yankee Farmer in East Lyme and says his peaches were a total loss.

“It’s a lot of money,” says Scott. “I’d guess between $75,000 and $100,000 in peaches.”

peach tree 3Things looked bleak at Holmberg Orchards back then too until flowers started to emerge on their trees. Having different varieties of peaches could mean their losses will be less.

“There were some varieties that we were pretty ready to write off and as things have warmed back up again we’re thinking yeah there’s going to be something there,” says Holmberg. “There’s going to be peaches there.”

“It won’t be until mid May though that they’ll be able to see signs which will show whether or not the flowers will actually develop into fruit.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s