Agriculture Secretary: Peach Crop Weak This Summer - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Agriculture Secretary: Peach Crop Weak This Summer

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Some peaches can still be found growing on Bennett Orchards (Source: WBOC) Some peaches can still be found growing on Bennett Orchards (Source: WBOC)

FRANKFORD, Del. - Delaware Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee confirmed Wednesday what peach growers have been saying for months since April's big frost hit the region. He said the summer peach crop will be seriously impacted this season. 

"It's a big deal," he said. "It's a loss. And the impact is there will be less peaches... And the prices will be higher." 

The crop loss occurred on April 6, when a deep freeze hit Delmarva, causing many peaches to die. Exacerbating the situation was that March was unusually warm, causing the peaches to bloom early. At Bennett Orchards, Henry Bennett said they're expecting the crop loss to be in between 70 and 90 percent. 

"This tree here," he said. "It should be loaded. It should have peaches three to four inches apart on every branch. See branches like this, that don't have anything on them."

Kee said that the impacts varied, depending on the farm. While Bennett Orchards suffered tremendous losses, he said others in the state had losses closer to 50 percent.

Hail Bennett said that the problems went beyond just Delaware farmers. 

"I don't think there's anybody across the Mid-Atlantic that's going to have a great peach year," he said. "Due to that deep freeze on April 6th. But some growers are probably making out better than others."

In order to make up for their losses, the Bennett family decided to grow melons and blueberries instead. The blueberries are already available for purchase at the farm. 

Henry said it has been touching to see the community support them in their tough time. 

"We do have our problems this year," he said. "But I think our fan base is not one of them."

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