Will the Cold Weather Affect Peach Crops?

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Tuesday’s cold snap is being welcomed with open arms by local peach growers because the cold actually helps produce a better crop. Getting plenty of cold is essential for the success of Georgia's signature crop.

Each year thousands of people flock to the tiny town of Morven in Brooks County, Georgia to celebrate the annual peach crop, but this celebration wouldn't be possible without plenty of cold weather each winter.

Irvin Lawson, a peach grower, says, "I was beginning to wonder when the cold was going to get here. Hopefully it's gotten here and hopefully it's going to stay around for a while."

That's because farmers need the temperature to remain below 45 degrees for several hundred hours.

"The more chill hours, the better piece of fruit you have, the better quality, the better color you have. It's just all around a better piece of fruit."

While the trees may look dead to the untrained eye, farmers say the cold weather is actually having the perfect effect on these trees, preparing the way for a good crop next year.

Lawson adds, "It's a very slow process of growth during dormancy. When it gets the adequate amount of chill hours, it's ready to burst wide open and make a blossom."

It’s a blossom which produces a perfect peach and helps increase sales of the locally grown crops, in turn serving as an economic force for both farmers and the local economy.

Peach growers say they need at least 450 hours of cold weather to get good results, and anything extra is a bonus.