First of all, we want to extend a big thank you to all our customers for the warm support after we broke the news about this year’s peach crop. We’ve had some questions about what is involved in a freeze event and how it affects the fruit, the trees, and the farm.
What is a ‘freeze event’?
A freeze event in fruit orchards refers to a period of abnormally low temperatures that can damage or even destroy fruit crops. When temperatures drop below freezing, ice crystals can form within the fruit and cause damage to the fruit’s cells. This can result in a loss of quality or yield, and in severe cases, can kill the entire crop. Luckily, we were not completely wiped out.
Freeze events can occur at different stages of fruit development, and the severity of the damage depends on the temperature and the duration of the freeze. A freeze event later in the season, or after the buds have matured into fruit, can damage the fruit directly and cause them to become discolored, soft, or even collapse.
If the freeze occurs during bloom, it can damage the flowers and reduce the number of fruit that will develop. This is exactly what happened this spring, not only down at Pearson Farm, but also across the South. On March 15 and again on March 20 and 21, temperatures dropped to between 27 and 28 degrees. At this time the trees were in blossom, and the fragile flowers could not withstand the extreme overnight temperatures over several different nights.
Farmers can use things like wind machines to mix the cold air with warmer air, or use heaters or fire to raise the temperature in the orchard, but despite our farmers’ best efforts to save them a large percentage of the harvest was lost this season.
The trees themselves are typically not damaged by a freeze event, so we can look forward to bountiful harvests in years to come from our hard working trees and tireless farmers!
What it means to you this season:
We are very grateful to have a small crop of peaches that we can bring to our customers this summer across the Midwest. While we will not have the volume to fulfill Home Delivery orders, we will try to have peaches available at our Peach Stop and Pop-up locations. This may involve limiting per-customer purchases to spread the love to more of our customers, but we’ll know more once the season is underway.
We’ll be using our website to release daily updates, so check your town’s stop before heading out! And don’t worry, we expect to have a full load of blueberries, pecans, pistachios, along with a few specialty items throughout the summer.