Our Peach Growing History
Dave Flannery, owner of Apple Holler has been growing peaches since he first started planting them in the spring of 2011. Dave knew he was taking a chance with planting a peach crop but he did his due diligence when it came to research and found out that there were a few hearty peach trees that grow better in the North, and would be able to withstand our winter weather.
The winter of 2013/2014 was a disappointing year for the peach crop at Apple Holler, due to the extremely bitter temperatures that we experienced. There was not a single peach on any of the 500 peach trees; additionally, that season Dave lost about 50 peach trees from the temperatures that dipped as low as -20F. That was the winter that many of us learned a new weather term “Polar Vortex”.
Though losing 50 peach trees during that winter was terribly disappointing, it didn’t discourage Dave from expanding the peach orchard. In the spring of 2014 he planted 1,000 more peach trees, focusing on varieties that ripen earlier.
In the winter of 2018 the entire country saw unpredictable weather, which has caused a peach crop reduction as a whole. In fact, in the Northeast the peach crop was decimated by a mid-February freeze that was followed by a cold snap in early April.
Closer to home, Wisconsin also experienced some cold weather with some of the later frosts threatening the fruit crops. For any of the fruit trees, peaches included, a freeze that occurs once the flower buds start to expand in spring is deadly.
Leaf buds are more durable, and even if killed by freezing temperatures, trees make secondary and tertiary leaf buds that will emerge if that primary leaf bud is killed. But flower buds do not have “backup buds”; if the flower buds are killed this winter, you will have to wait until next year for the possibility of fruit.
In other words…. No buds, no peaches!
However, this winter the conditions were just perfect for budding and blooming on our peach trees. We received warm weather and rain just at the times our peach trees needed them to produce one of our best peach crops ever.