Farmers Expect Good Peach and Blackberry Crops

    Warm weather and lots of rain are helping many local crops mature faster and become ready for the pickin', including peaches.
    Becky Morath, co-owner of Morath's Orchard, says, "Last summer we didn't have any peaches because of the freeze and the summer before we had freeze damage, so this year ought to be a pretty heavy crop compared to what we've had the past two years."
    And blackberries, too.
    The drought ate up the blackberry crop, so there hasn't been much of the tiny fruit to go around.
    Steve Young, co-owner of Young's Orchard, says, "This year's blackberry crop is really nice.   This is the first year we'll pick on this crop."
    At first, farmers thought they had more weather trouble when a hail storm blew through in the beginning of May and pounded their crops.
    "It kind of hurt some of the vegetables and stuff like that, but they've all grown back out and fat at this point," Morath says.
    Blackberries, along with other fruits, sprout on last year's growth.
    Farmers kept their irrigation systems on all summer long in hope of helping the plants along so a crop could be produced this year.
    "So this growth right here that you see that has no fruit on it, this has just come up.  And this growth right here is where next year's crop will come up," Young says.
    Both blackberries and peaches are ripe for the pickin' and farmers say they should have plenty of the fruits through the early part of the summer; just in time for the annual Charlie-Thornberry Peach Festival in June.
    This weekend the Charlie-Thornberry growers will showcase their blackberry crop during "Blackberry Day".
    It's this Saturday at the Downtown Farmer's Market which is at the corner of 8th and Ohio.
    In addition to fresh blackberries, you can also enjoy free samples of blackberry cobbler courtesy of the Charlie-Thornberry Farmers Association between 9 and 11 a.m.

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