AFVGA Executive Director Optimistic About State’s Strawberry, Peach Crops

Clint ThompsonAlabama

By Clint Thompson

Optimism abounds for Alabama’s strawberry and peach crops this season. Blake Thaxton, executive director of the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA), highlighted what he has heard from growers so far this year, starting with excitement geared towards a generational-type strawberry crop.

Blake Thaxton

“I’m hearing very good things about the strawberry crop. People are saying things like it’s a 10-year crop, quality and yield wise. It does seem a little slower coming out this year. Although we haven’t had those freezes, we have had cooler temperatures. I think it’s taking a little while to get going, but people are very optimistic that once they get going, they’re going to be,” Thaxton said. “Peaches look really good. The cold temperatures that we had in March didn’t damage the peaches from my understanding. We did have a little bit of damage with some of the early varieties in North Alabama, but overall, I’m hearing very good things from the farmers on peaches.

“We have heard about some damage to blueberries down in Southwest Alabama, the coastal region. It’s yet to be seen on how bad that will be, but they area expecting some losses from that (freeze) event.”

But for the most part, the weather has been kind to Alabama producers this spring, and it has shown in the state’s fruit crops.

“It’s much better than last year; with the March freezes we had last year. We are happy about that and feel very fortunate for the weather we’ve had so far this spring,” Thaxton said.