By Joe Holden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–John Hurff has a knack for studying his crops.

“If that’s green, they should be okay,” he said while closely inspecting a bud on a peach tree. “If that’s brown or black, it’s done.”

This South Jersey farmer says the weather, as of late, has planted some seeds of doubt in the success of this year’s fruit tree crop.

“It’s been a roller coaster the last month,” Hurff said.

A warm February brought out the buds on the peach trees. They along with apple, dot much of the 250 acres at William Schober Orchards in Monroeville.

CBS 3 visited the farm in February. Many of this farmer’s concerns have come to fruition.

“See, he’s done,” Hurff says peeling back a piece of bloom.”There’s nothing there. It’s killed that one.”

Now, it’s now a race against the clock.

Hurff estimates his peach crop is about a week-and-a-half ahead of schedule. And with below freezing temperatures still a possibility, he’s concerned

“Once that flower opens and that pistil is exposed, they don’t want anything below 27 or 28 [degrees.] Anything below that, we got damage,” he said.

John remembers the frost late in the winter of ’84, and the hailstorm a few years back. Both wiped out the peaches.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “We actually need some more time. When they open up, the flowers up, you can get a better idea.”


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