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Delaware peach crop affected by killer frost

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A frost at the wrong time has ravaged peach tree groves around Delaware.

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Ed Kee tells the News Journal (http://delonline.us/1VpWg97) that due to freezing temperatures in early April, orchards with peaches are reporting 40 percent to 50 percent damage.

Peaches usually aren’t picked until the second half of summer. Charlie Smith, an owner of T.S. Smith & Sons in Bridgeport, says an unusually warm March meant peach trees blossomed earlier than expected.

Then, the night of April 5, temperatures around the state plunged below freezing. Peaches that had begun budding started to die.

Smith says it’s possible the peach damage could affect retail prices in late summer. But if peach crops in Georgia and Alabama don’t face similar problems, the prices won’t change much.

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