Ala peach crop ready weeks early, warm temps cited
CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — Growers say Alabama's peach crop is on sale weeks earlier than normal this year because of the warm winter.
Workers typically began picking fruit around mid-May in Chilton County, the heart of the state's peach country between Montgomery and Birmingham. But Cindy Phillips of Durbin Farms says the crop is two to three weeks ahead of schedule this year because of the mild temperatures.
Phillips says Durbin Farms' packing house already has been operating a week. And the strawberry crop also was early this year because of the weather.
An Auburn University study says Alabama produces about 20 million pounds of peaches annually. A 2009 study valued the state's peach crop at $10 million.