Titan Farms CEO: Peach Trees Already Have Open Flowers

Web Admin South Carolina

By Clint Thompson

Earlier bloom periods for peach producers is a phenomenon that has only intensified in recent years.

Peach blooms
Photo courtesy of Titan Farms/Shows peach trees in bloom from a previous year.

“I don’t care what you want to call it, there is a change to the global pattern,” said Chalmers Carr, owner, president and CEO of Titan Farms, the largest peach producer on the east coast in Ridge Spring, South Carolina.

Peach trees are blooming because temperatures are warming up earlier in the production season. Carr said he never had a tree bloom in February prior to 2017, the same year they experienced a major freeze. That’s not the case this year, however.

“I do have open flowers. It’s Feb. 13, and I’ve got one orchard that’s probably 50% in bloom. I’ve got five or six others that now have open flowers,” said Carr, who estimates that the same varieties that he’s produced for so many years have moved up almost 7 to 10 days earlier. “That gets a little risky, but also if you can get to the marketplace earlier and you can beat out California and you can get the shelf space, then we’re much better off. With that risk comes reward.”

Carr is optimistic about this year’s crop despite warming trends this winter that reduced chill hours. However, he believes his crop fared better with chill hour accumulations than those in Georgia.

“I’ve probably got everything I need for 85% of my acreage; 15% of my acreage is probably going to be questionable. If I was in Georgia, that would probably be 50% of my acreage, but they don’t grow as late as I do,” Carr said. “I have a lot of peaches in August, and that’s where some of that acreage would be. I’m not overly worried about it, but I could be just being too optimistic. You have to be optimistic to be in this business.

“All things considered we should still be in a good position for a very good crop.”