When we left for vacation, we had no idea of the chaos that we would find when we returned to the orchard. We had neatly planned a 2-week window where we could take a vacation before all of the peaches started coming ripe. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it through vacation. About halfway through, we got a message from one of the employees early Monday morning as they came into work that day. Before we could even finish messaging them back we got another message from another employee. Tragedy had struck.
This last Sunday a typical “Summer in Texas” storm blew through the area. For most folks it was just the typical “light and sounds” show and a shower of rain. In the Orchard, it was a different story entirely. It was very high winds and a withering explosion of hail. In the span of less than 5 minutes the orchard went from a tidy little crop with a bright future in some cobbler or ice cream, into a devastated wasteland of brutally injured trees and an utterly destroyed crop of peaches.
It wasn’t until we got home that we realized the wind speed was likely far higher than the orchard weather station showed. As it turns out, one of the wind speed cups was broken off by the hail.
Having seen some pictures of the damage, we loaded up and left our vacation house early to go and see it for ourselves. As we drove the 3 hours home, I harbored some hope that it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. We didn’t even stop at the house when we got back into town, we just drove straight to the orchard. What we found confirmed the worst. The crop for 2019 in The Orchard had been destroyed.
The hail had been so dense that it knocked about 80% of the fruit right off the trees. On closer inspection, the remaining 20% didn’t fare much better. The peaches still on the tree all have massive wounds that will cause the fruit to rot and die, even if we left it on the tree.
The wind was hard enough to blow over a pecan tree that, though it wasn’t in the best of health, was still quite a significant tree.
Since 2015, growing peaches has consistently been a humbling experience. It feels like everything in the world is set against you growing a good crop that people will be excited to pick and enjoy.
This is just the latest bump in the road, but it isn’t the end of that road. We always have next year to look forward to!