After predictions of a bumper crop, freezing temperatures hit Fredericksburg this week, forcing peach growers to use drastic measures to protect the fragile blooms.
Some lit hay bale fires and paid for helicopters to push warmer air down onto their crops.
Gary Marburger grows about 15 acres of peaches in Fredericksburg. And although he says it’s too early to tell whether this freeze was a helpful “thinning” freeze or something more severe, he isn’t especially optimistic.
“I’m probably looking at maybe 25 percent of potential crop is what I’ll end up with,” Marburger said.
But every orchard is different, Marburger said, and a clearer assessment of this year’s peach crop will take a few more weeks.