February warm weather has East Tennessee farmers worried about season

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – You wouldn’t expect to see pink, white, and yellow in the trees in February, but in Knoxville this week, it’s reality.

One local farmer, Dennis Fox, owner of The Fruit and Berry Patch, says the inconsistencies in the weather make it harder on farmers.

“My peaches require somewhere between 850 to 1,100 hours with temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees. If they don’t get that they might bloom, but there aren’t any peaches. That happened last year and I am scared to death it’s going to happen again this year.” Fox said.

Related story: Record high temperature broken in Knoxville

Chilling hours are times when the temperatures reach 32 to 45 degrees. Fox says some of his peaches have already started blossoming, which could mean smaller fruit in May.

“I’m scared to death we’re going to have a winter like we did in ’07. We had a real early spring like this, then it got down in the teens. Even the oak trees it killed back.” said Fox.

For now, he is patient. Fox says in his line of work there’s always hoping next year is better.

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