Late freeze raises concerns for summer peach crop

HARRAH, Okla. – The unseasonably cold weather in Oklahoma could be taking a toll on a summer tradition.

James Spencer is the owner of Spencer’s Orchard & Greenhouses in Harrah.

“The hot summer days and bright sunshine make some of the sweetest peaches,” he said.

Spencer has been growing peaches for the last 50 years.

Many come to his orchard every summer to pick their own fruit and buy his flowers.

A late cold snap is raising concerns for orchard owners across the state.

“It was down to 18 degrees the night before last,” Spencer said.

Many people have been worried that the freezing temperatures will hurt the peach crop for the coming summer. Spencer said his trees are doing just fine.

“There’s still plenty to have a good crop,” he said.

Spencer’s orchard has seen about 20 percent of its trees affected by the late frost.

The cold killed the few flowers that had already bloomed but many of the buds that have not opened yet are safe.

Ryan Lawson is the newest worker at Spencer’s Orchard & Greenhouses.

He isn’t concerned about the recent weather.

“Every year comes with a new situation at hand,” he said. “Usually [James] keeps tight control over things. Whenever he worries, that’s when it’s time to worry and he’s never worried!”

It only takes about 10 percent of a crop of peaches to make a bountiful harvest.

Those numbers help ease some of the stress of growing an orchard in a state where the weather has a mind of it’s own.

“The old adage rings true, ‘patience is a virtue,'” Lawson said. “You just can’t jump the gun on these issues whenever a freeze comes and worry about the trees because what’s the use in worrying until you actually see the results at the end.”

As for Spencer, he’s looking forward to this summer’s crop.

“I just enjoy watching them bloom and having the good sweet peaches.”

Spencer’s Orchard & Greenhouses has been family-owned and operated since the 1960s.

You can buy produce at the farm from June through August.

5528 N. Peebly Rd.
Harrah, OK 73045