Heat wave creating bountiful harvest

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

UNION COUNTY,IL (KFVS) - Heat and humidity is a perfect combination for fruit growers in Southern Illinois.

Both peach orchards in Union County are already picking peaches on the first day of Summer.

Flamm Orchards began picking their cling peaches a few days ago.  At Rendleman Orchards their cling peaches are ready for picking too.

"Well this is our earliest variety of peaches that we're picking right now. But it's really progressed the ripening of the fruit tremendously," Alan Flamm said.

The peaches aren't the only crop flourishing in the heat and humidity. So are the vegetables.

"Our squash fields love this heat and rain. We're cutting it seven days a week. The peaches like the heat. But it's a little too hot for the apples," Ren Sirles said.

But, the 90 plus degree temperatures are taking a toll on the workers who harvest the crops.

"We carry a 10 gallon jug of water on every wagon. And we tell them to drink plenty of water. And to take breaks when they need to," Sirles said.

The workers in the packing houses are battling the heat too as they prepare the produce for local markets. But, Sirles says things could be worse.

"The worst thing is for it to be dry and hot and then you don't survive. So we're surviving this for now."

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