FREDERICKSBURG, Texas — It seems like the machines are sorting an endless parade of peaches at the Vogel Orchard in Stonewall, Texas. For owner Jamey Vogel that sight — and sound — are beautiful.
"This year we're running about two weeks ahead of schedule and it's because we had an early winter this year," said Vogel.
The recent rains have made this year's peach crop in Stonewall bountiful. Vogel says the drought cut last year's crop by 30 percent. "I've said I don't ever want to hear anybody complain about rain again, no matter what."
The early start to peach season has kept him very busy, but he doesn't mind. That early start is already attracting many customers.
Sheri Church visits Vogel's peach stand frequently. She's relieved to see a great peach harvest this year. "It's so great to see everything recovering after such a hard year last year," she said.
Jimmy Duecker owns Burg's Corner. Like other peach growers he says the drought took a toll on his peaches last year. "The peaches didn't size like they should last year - they were flavorful - but they didn't have the size like the ones that I have this year," he explained.
Customers Mary Finkelstein and Michael Morisoli are excited about this year's peach crop. "It's really great to have 'em back. I'm used to 'em. So when you don't have 'em for a season, you really miss 'em," said Finkelstein.
At Gold Orchards the early start to the peach season caught owner LuAna Priess a little off-guard.
"We, like others in the agriculture business, have seen our share of bad years, so we are very fortunate to see the crop and of course it trickles down to the rest of the community," explained Priess.
These growers are optimistic that this year's peach season - which generally runs through late August - will be a sweet one.