Big Peach Season Expected This Year

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MILLSTADT, IL (KTVI) -One local farmer is spending the summer enjoying a record crop of peaches, while remembering last year’s record drought.

”We were expecting it to be a larger fruit size than average,” said Eckert’s orchard president Chris Eckert.  “But, this is just incredible.  The fruit size is just huge this year.”

He is watching the biggest crop yield the biggest peaches he has seen at his family’s Belleville, Illinois farm.  After this year’s rainy spring, he said other fruits are doing well, too.

”Especially apples, and peaches, and blackberries,” he said.  “I think those three crops are going to be just incredibly good for us this year.”

Eckert was expecting a record crop last year, too.

”But then, no rain showed up,” he remembered.  “We just watched our crop shrivel up on the tree.”

All the rain may have brought welcome changes.  But, it also brought some challenges.

”The only challenges we’ve have would be with getting pumpkins planted,” Eckert explained.

“Because, it was muddy so long.”

He pointed out that this year’s soybean crop was also planted late.  But, he said that it is growing well in the Midwest.  Seeing how soybeans are in everything from bread to nutrition supplements, the plant can drive food prices.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said.  “We don’t know what Indonesia is going to do.  We don’t know what China is going to do.”

Eckert said that all of this year’s rain has been a mixed blessing for corn farmers.

”Corn is kind of the engine of Illinois and Iowa and Indiana and Missouri.  I think it’s going to be just fine, albeit there are spots that are rough because it got flooded.”

But, peaches are taking center stage this Saturday.

”I don’t think there’s anything better to do than come to Eckert’s and pick peaches.  But, that’s where I’ll be,” Eckert laughed.

You can PYOP -- Pick Your Own Peaches -- starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.  Your harvest will be just $0.99 a pound this year.

After the last trailer harvest, you can enjoy the Eckert’s Summer Concert Series from 7-9 p.m. Saturday with the Aaron Eckert Jazz Combo.

There will be music every Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer.  Eckert recommended customers call ahead at (618) 233-0513 or visit the Harvest Hotline at http://www.eckerts.com.

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