Farmers shocked by condition of crops after week of freeze warnings

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WTVQ)- This weekend, farmers will continue surveying crop damage after several days of freeze warnings. At Evans Orchard in Georgetown, farm owner Kevan Evans was worried about such cold weather after several days of extreme warmth.

Friday, Evans opened up some of his peach buds to see how the freeze impacted his crop. He saw a surprising number with green stems inside, meaning those peaches are still alive.

“We just thought we were going to lose it,” Evans said.

It is hard to believe anything could survive after a week of temperatures in the teens. Miraculously, Evans estimates 80-100% of his crop is safe. He says there has definitely been some loss, especially in varieties like Donut Peaches, but for the most part he expects to have a full crop.

“It’s better than we were even dreaming about,” Evans said.

Evans says he was worried because the unusually warm February weather had his peaches blooming three weeks ahead of schedule, making them particularly vulnerable to a freeze.

He says he has lost whole crops before at temperatures of 24 degrees, making him think someone finds his crops peachy keen.

“To get to 15 and 16 [degrees] it’s just like what are we doing? Somebody did a lot of prayers for us I think,” Evans said.

Supplementing Income

“We’d already given some thought as to different things we could do to make up that income,” Evans said.

He says farmers can buy crop insurance, but it is expensive so he tries to self-insure by planting a variety of fruits and vegetables.

“If we see we’re going to lose a little of our peach crop then we’ll plant a little more of something else and push that a little more,” Evans said.

Sometimes, Evans says he has to bring peaches in from elsewhere, something he hates to do. This year, he does not think he will have to.

“To me, just a Kentucky fresh peach off the tree, you just cannot beat it. You can bring something else in and replace it, but it does not have that taste,” Evans said.

That Kentucky taste seems secure, for now.

“Now, we can sit back and relax a little bit before another week or two until the weather changes again,” Evans laughed.

He says he is waiting to see what Mother Nature brings for Spring.

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