Lingering winter forces late start for some Colorado crops

08/02/2013 01:03:00 PM
Jim Offner

The last killing frost of winter came about 10 days later than normal, with cherries most vulnerable and peaches affected to a degree, Gibson said.

“We’re going to start a little later on our peach crop,” he said.

The peach deal was scheduled to run from the end of July into the second week of September, and then give way to bartlett pears, Gibson said.

“The deal is about week to 10 days behind,” he said.

Pears will ship until early October, and apples will run through Thanksgiving or Christmas, he said.

“This year, I don’t expect a real big apple crop. We had a heavy crop last year,” said Gibson, whose company offers jonathans, galas, red delicious, golden delicious, fujis and jonagolds.

The unexpected cold in April and May cut into the peach crop at Palisade, Colo.-based Talbott’s Mountain Gold LLLP, said Charlie Talbott, president.

“Peaches is our main thrust in the produce deal, and we had some rather brutal spring (weather) and some rather significant crop reduction,” he said.

The crop could be down by about a third this season, he said.

“Against that backdrop, our marketing plans are going to be more focused toward seeking to maintain as good a continuity as we possibly can, without really aggressively trying and suggesting we’d be able to support big promotions,” he said.

The apple crop is shaping up as “close to normal — maybe down a little,” said Jonathan Allen, founder and president of Firstfruits International Ltd. in Montrose, Colo., and the chairman of the Colorado Apple Administrative Committee in Delta.

“This year is alternate bearing, which probably bring it down some,” Allen said.

The state typically produces about 300,000 bushels of apples, which is only about one-tenth of its production about 20 or 30 years ago, Allen said.

“But the industry is still strong with good retail support,” he said.

“We’re not exporting or anything, but there’s plenty of supply.”

 

Potatoes

The state’s potato acreage is 49,700, compared to 55,000 in 2012, said Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Monte Vista-based Colorado Potato Administrative Committee.

“I think it was just not planted for water reasons, and the market has been bad this year, and that probably played into it,” Ehrlich said.

The potato deal will get going after Labor Day, which would be “close to being on time,” Ehrlich said.



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