Peach growers look forward to first full crop in years

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PALISADE, Colo. Cold spring weather had peach growers on edge the past couple of months, but it's turned out to be the best peach crop they've seen in a while.

"The growers, the managers, they feel happy," said Tony Fernandez, manager at High Country Orchards. "We want to see the best for everybody. Not only for us, but for everybody in the valley here."

High Country Orchards has a full crop right now compared to the past five years when they lost an average of 50-75% of the crop.

Growers spent several nights keeping watch over their orchards for frost, but they said the work was worth it with all of the peaches ripening up now for harvest.

"Sometimes you have to keep an eye on everything," Fernandez said. "Where the air come from, you got to turn on the wind machine sometimes, dropping around and seeing where the temperature is more low."

Peach lovers could start seeing peaches in stores by the end of June and the season could continue longer than the past few years because there will be more opportunities to harvest.

"The first time you can go and the second time you just clean the whole thing right there," Fernandez said of the previous harvests. "We got to go these years three times, maybe four."

Grape vines didn't survive the spring chills as well as the peach trees. Half the grape crop at Colterris Vineyards was damaged.

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