In Texas, peaches are often the highlight of summer.
Some might even go so far as to say a Texas peach is the only good thing during those endless days of 100-degree heat.
Well, this year, they can take solace.
The peaches have arrived ahead of those scorching summertime temperatures and weeks before the Parker County Peach Festival on July 13.
The wet spring has had one noticeable affect on early varieties of peaches — they have so much juice they’re almost guaranteed to splash as you bite into one.
For those who don’t want to be doused in peach juice, one grower says there’s nothing to worry about.
“As we dry out, that will change,” said Gary Hutton in an interview from the Hutton Peach Farm store just west of Weatherford. “It looks like it will be a better season than last year. Last year we needed the moisture. We didn’t have enough rain.”
The Huttons sell their peaches at their farm store as well as the farmers market in downtown Weatherford. They also own the Ridgmar Farmers Market in west Fort Worth near Ridgmar Mall.
But they’re far from alone in having a banner year.
Overall, it looks like a bountiful peach crop across Texas.
“I think it going to be better than ever — I really do,” said Mark Wieser, chairman of Fischer and Wieser Specialty Foods in Fredericksburg, whose father planted the family’s first peach trees in 1928.
Both Cooper Farms, near Fairfield southeast of Dallas, and McPeak Orchards, near Pittsburgh in northeast Texas, said it’s looking like a special year.
Cooper Farms peaches are sold at its store along Interstate 45 in Fairfield and at Central Market in Fort Worth and Southlake. McPeak Orchards peaches are sold at Walmart, Whole Foods, Central Market and Randalls grocery stores.
“It’s the best we’ve ever had in 28 years,” said Chris McPeak. “Mother Nature usually kinds of clips us — she didn’t this year. We have 15,000 trees all producing at full max.”
If you’re buying in a store, how can you tell the peach is from Texas? McPeak says it is simple.
“The sweetness,” McPeak said. “In Texas, we can keep them on the tree a little longer than, say, California. It takes three days to ship them from California so they have to pick them a little earlier.”
That hasn’t stopped out-of-state peaches from invading Texas.
On June 1-2, the Peach Truck from Georgia appeared across Dallas-Fort Worth promoting and selling its state fruit.
“Everybody growing peaches — whether it’s Texas or anywhere else — it’s just been a good year,” McPeak said. “Georgia, South Carolina, California — they all have a bunch of them.”
So McPeak doesn’t take issue with Georgia growers trying to sell their produce in Texas.
“We all try to be professional about it and not to step on each other’s toes,” McPeak said.