June 24, 2013
In the early 1900's, Crozet was one of the peach capitals of the United States. The hot, dry summers in Central Virginia make for the perfect peach growing climate and the season has officially started.
Carter Mountain Orchard, Chiles Peach Orchard, and Henley Orchard are three peach orchards in Central Virginia that have opened up their pick you own peaches. Compared to last year it sounds late, but in reality, now is more on time.
Tim Henley, owner and operator of Henley's Orchard, said, "They're actually coming in right on schedule this year. Last year they were three weeks early."
Cynthina Chiles, one of Chiles Peach Orchard and Carter Mountain Orchard owner's, said, "Every year is a little different and we don't control that so we just go with it."
Peaches like hot, dry weather but in Central Virigina, we have had a lot of rain this spring. The recent rain will actually help the peaches down the road and it will also make the fruit bigger.
Chiles said, "We needed the rain and so that actually made everything nice and green now and it gives the peaches some size though. The rain hit at a great time and now this hot weather is going to sweeten them right up."
Our mild spring may have given local growers more work because there weren't as many frosts. The frost help thin out the fruit on the trees.
Henley explained, "We hope to have a little frost to take some of that fruit out to thin the trees but otherwise we have to thin them all by hand which we had to do this year and we actually just finished."
Francine Hammer is a visitor from Ohio, she said that peaches are one of the things she looks forward to more in the summer.
Hammer said, "I like the summer and I like peaches, their juicy and we don't have great fruit during the rest of the year it's pretty much just apples and bananas."
This year's weather has created the perfect fruit for peach lovers from near and far.
Hammer said, "I like the fuzz on them too. When the fuzz on your lip hits the fuzz on the peach. You can smell it, you can feel it, so it's like peaches with all your senses."
Both Henley and Chiles Orchard expect to have fruit available through Labor Day.