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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

Demand high for fruit in region

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

(Photo)
Christina Wray, an employee at Dogwood Orchard, helps Carolyn Alton of Sikeston pick out peaches. Photo by Tim Jaynes
SIKESTON -- You might find an empty peach stand at Dogwood Orchard.

Not because there aren't any growing, like last year, but because co-owner Mike Leible can't keep them coming quickly enough.

"Demand has been high. We've been selling out every afternoon," he said.

Leible explained that the reason for such high demand may be because everyone's freezer supplies were completely out after last year's disappointing crop.

While last year many area orchards suffered the loss of their fruit crops because of a mixture of warm then shockingly cold temperatures, this year's crops had much better luck.

"The quality is superb," Leible said.

Leible said while some of his 17 varieties of peaches have grown better than others this year, that's something to be expected.

"You always have that every year," he said, noting that it all depends on when frost comes and how well the trees grow.

Dogwood Orchard also grows four types of nectarines and will have plums in the years to come, according to Leible.

Janet Johns, co-owner of Cates Orchard near Dudley, has a large demand for peaches as well.

"People were sure ready for them," she said.

Johns said they have a good crop, but it isn't quite full. She noted there were plenty of peaches and apples, but apricots did not fare so well. But she is glad nonetheless.

"Anything's going to be better than last year," she said.

Cates Orchard has 40 to 45 different varieties of peaches which are picked from the middle of June to the end of September.

Anthony Ohmes, regional agronomy specialist for the University of Missouri Extension, said he hasn't heard any complaints about this summer's crops. He said that while there were a couple nights of cold temperatures that influenced some varieties' pollination, that didn't create too many problems.

"Other than that everything else was good," he said. "June apples fared real well and peaches are coming off real nice."

Ohmes also noted that with wetter weather there are higher incidents of fruit diseases, but most commercial orchard owners easily take care of that. Growers should continue to water and inspect their crops to keep them as healthy as possible, he said.