Peach farmers ready for harvest face new challenges

“You’d better believe it it’s getting more and more expensive.”
Local peach farmers are struggling to keep up as gas prices, inflation rise.
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 5:03 PM EDT
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LAWNDALE, N.C. (WBTV) - Warmer weather means it’s finally time to get that fresh fruit you’ve been craving all winter long. Peaches will be coming in within the next couple of months, and while there’s plenty to go around, the high cost of everything is putting a strain on local farmers.

“You’ve got to like what you’re doing because it’s not easy. Believe you me.”

Betty Davis is one of the owners of Davis and Son Farms in Lawndale. They’ve been around a decade before Watergate was in the headlines. Thursday, Davis was holding down the fort at the front store.

“The hobby got away from us and became a job.”

Customers say it’s easy to tell the difference between farm and frozen.

“Oh yeah, you can taste the difference.” Josh Mall said.

And this peach season, there’s plenty this year to go around.

“I’ve got to sell this stuff,” Davis laughed off.

The problem isn’t selling the newest batch of peaches, but it’s how much to charge for it.

“I can’t increase the prices on my produce enough to offset what it’s costing me.”

Alan Davis is the son of Davis and Son. He says with all the problems farms are facing right now, it could be a rough year.

“Things have got to give somewhere,” Alan Davis said.

One of the challenges they face stares at them every morning from right across the street at the local gas station. Diesel, the lifeblood of any farm now sits at $5.60 a gallon. And there’s no sign of it letting up anytime soon.

“You’d better believe it it’s getting more and more expensive,” Betty Davis said.

The labor shortage is also so bad around here, farms have to share workers during downtimes. To add insult to injury, an early spring freeze took out some of the crops this year.

“Yeah, it’s really hard,” Allen Davis said.

The question is how to make up for the lost revenue? Raising prices is always an option, but that idea doesn’t sit well with Davis.

“A lot of people say you have to but I can’t.”

So that means he’ll have to eat the higher cost of bringing his fruit to harvest, and just hope for better times next year.

“I’m going to bear the brunt of the increase in everything.”

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