August is peach harvest time and with the Palisade Peach Festival this weekend, orchards are running at full capacity. But this year Mother Nature is offering harvesters a little relief.
For Bruce Talbott of Talbott farms, this year's peach season started off rough. "Early March freeze took out some of the fruit," says Talbott. Once the temperatures warmed up, it was business as usual. Now that he's in the final stretch, he's finding some surprising results. "We're a lot better than we thought we were early spring," says Talbott.
The month of August is usually the hottest of the summer, which can mean working in triple digit heat to get the job done. "If we have the resources, we won't pick in the afternoon," says Talbott. Higher temperatures are not only bad for the workers, it's bad for the fruit. "If it's really hot then the fruit softens quickly," says Talbott.
This years harvest time has been different. Cooler daytime temperatures to start the month mean working straight through the day without worries of heat exhaustion. "It's a lot more enjoyable to harvest when it's not brutally hot," says Talbott. And with temperatures forecasted to get back down below normal by the end of the week, it looks like more enjoyable days are ahead. "The guys at 5 p.m. are still picking and feeling good, but if it's 100 plus, there's a point where you're killing people off," says Talbott
The 41st Annual Palisade Peach Festival is this weekend. Festivities begin Thursday, August 13 with Palisade Agritours and the Ice Cream Social & Street Dance. The Ice Cream Social includes the “passing of the torch” between the outgoing and incoming Town Grouch, coronation of the 2009 Peach Queen, and the debut of the Union Pacific’s Miniature Historic Parade Train. And of course, you’ll enjoy free ice cream and Palisade peaches, and dancing to the sounds of Swing City Express.
Friday and Saturday are highlighted by the Peach Festival at Riverbend Park. Arrive early and receive a free peach. Activities include vendors, kids’ rides, Peach Cuisine with Colorado Chefs, Peach Eating Contest, and some of the best musical entertainment in the Grand Valley. You’ll find the new Alpaca Showcase right across the parking lot.