LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – Although the heat and inconsistent rain has been an inconvenience for most of us, for farmers it’s their livelihood.
Jack Pratt, Sr. has been farming Pratt’s Orchard in Wilson County for 46 years. He’s seen lots of weather come and go, including the severe drought in 2007. He says that this year has been challenging so far. He explained how his peach crop has been fairing.
“These peaches here, they are small,” Pratt explained. “And part of the reason is because of the lack of rain and the heat. And we got them getting a bigger size, even bigger than that usually. On this variety, that’s about as big as we are getting right now, but usually, they get bigger than that.”
And it’s not just the size of the peaches that is of concern.
“They’re not ripening as soon as they should,” Pratt said. “They’re slow about ripening, plus sizing up because of the dry weather.”
Pratt’s Orchard sells their peaches to the public, but they also like to let people come pick their own.
“We’re closed today and people are wanting to come and pick. I haven’t even let people pick this year so far,” Pratt exclaimed. “By the time we pick them, there’s not enough left for them to come pick that are ripe. We want them to pick ripe peaches.”
So far, the sparse rain and excessive heat have only affected the peaches on the trees, but if this weather pattern continues, there is the concern that it could kill the trees themselves.
“We’ve had some already, seems like they are drying up,” Pratt said. “I was back there this morning. Some of them had little peaches and the tree has died.”
Pratt is like all farmers in Middle Tennessee, praying for more consistent rain and less severe heat.