BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Families have been coming out to Eckert’s Family Farms all summer long to pick peaches and blackberries.
Farm manager Jerry Hearn said the recent rain has kept crops looking vibrant and healthy the season. However, there have been challenges with the weather including recent storms and the cold snap we had in the winter.
“Remember back, way back in December, we had -5 degree temperatures and it was really, really windy? We had 50-mile an hour winds for two days,” he said. “We actually lost about 50% of our peach crop because of that. We consider ourselves very blessed this year that we have a crop. A lot of growers in the Midwest here actually lost their crop so they don’t have peaches. That’s why it’s a little bit harder to find peaches this summer.”
Hearn said you still have a couple weeks left to come out to Eckert’s and pick peaches and blackberries. That’s what Chris and Amanda Wang did with their four-year-old twin boys, 6-year-old and one-year-old daughters.
“They love riding the tractor and I mean, the crops really are amazing,” Wang said. “You can’t get better fruit than right off the tree and off the vine.”
Right now, the peaches are juicy and bright. You can pick them seven days a week as long as they’re still available. Hearn suggests calling ahead. He’s also pleased with how the sunflowers look this summer, which he adds makes for a great backdrop for a photo.
“It’s always fun just to see that ‘aha moment’ from folks when they come out to pick,” Hearn said.
Apple-picking season starts in two weeks and goes to the end of October, and another benefit of all the rain is the pumpkins are looking healthy too.
“There’s a lot of pumpkins out there, so I think families are gonna have a great choice of pumpkins this fall if they come out to pick their own pumpkin in the field,” Hearn said.