Agriculture
1:50 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Southern Illinois Fruits And Vegetables Faring Better This Year

A year ago, southern Illinois fruit and vegetables were struggling through a record drought. This year, growers say things couldn't be more different - with cooler temperatures and much higher rain totals.

Wayne Sirles is Vice President of Rendleman Orchards in Union County. He said last year’s peaches were ready much earlier than normal, and this year people will have to wait just a bit longer.

"We're about a week to ten days later this year, compared to the normal average,” Sirles said. “Last year we were about two, two and a half weeks early."

At this time last year, Sirles was worried about a lack of rain and intense heat. This year, he said, is just the opposite.

"We've pretty much had the right about of rain, at about the right amount of timing,” Sirles said, “and as far as comparing it to last year, we're almost at the other end of the continuum. This time last year, we were extremely hot and dry."

Peaches are slowly starting to come in, and should be ready for wholesale shipping in another week or so. Apples may be a few days later than average, but should be ready in mid-to-late August.

Sirles said even though rainfall totals are much higher now than they were a year ago, he thinks the effects of last year's drought are still being felt as soil moisture is still trying to catch up.