Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 25, 2012

Mild spring brings early peaches

Summer already looks sweet in eastern Oklahoma, where peach growers expect a bountiful crop due to a mild weather and stable spring.

"I think we'll have a bumper crop," said Tracey Payton Miller, horticulture educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

The Little Red Barn Orchard in Norman saw blossoms on its Alberta peach trees in late February, and the fruit since then has been spared cold weather, said co-owner Larry Palmer.

Contrast that with last year, when Palmer's 20-year-old trees gave flowers and fruit in March, then were hit with a hard frost.

"I think part of it is last year was very, very hard on the trees, and they didn't put out very much," said Palmer. "So it's kind of two years coming."

Peach reports elsewhere are less sunny. Growers in the South and Midwest expect early crops because of a mild winter and warm spring. But growers in some areas expect a limited crop because there weren't enough cold days last winter.

California is the country's top peach producer, followed by South Carolina and Georgia.

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Details for this story were provided by the Norman, Okla., Transcript.

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