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Porter Peach Festival brings in Texas peaches after late spring freeze kills 90 percent of crop

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jul 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-16 23:18:58-04

PORTER, Okla. -- About 90 percent of Livesay Orchard's peach crop is gone.

The owner said it happened almost overnight during an April freeze, causing damage unlike anything the farm has seen in decades.

"It's a pretty significant loss. Probably the most we've lost since 1996. We're fortunate that we at least have a partial crop. There are friends of ours that don't have any," Kent Livesay said.

With the Porter Peach Festival fast approaching, the city has an alternative plan. The majority of peaches on display this year will be from Texas.

"Last year Texas had a problem with their peaches and they didn't have as many peaches and we were kind of their backbone and sent over some peaches last year so this year they did the same thing," Miss Peach Queen Hayley Bobbitt said.

The remaining 10 percent is expected to quickly sell out over the weekend.

"It's highly unusual that we do bring in peaches but when you have a peach festival people want to have a fresh, farm-raised peach. So we try to accommodate them when they come to our festival," chairman Alan Parnell said.

The festival runs from Thursday night through Saturday but Porter residents fear the freeze will have an impact on the city's economy past the annual event.

"The people that we can't accommodate that normally come strictly to the farm to buy their peaches, they don't stop at our store, they don't stop and spend their money as they come through town," Parnell said.

Peach imports won't be the only change at the festival. Attendees can expect significantly less fruit up for auction in the Lion's Club annual fundraiser.

"We will have a few boxes of those but are going to have some items that we've never auctioned off to raise money such as a quilt with a picture of a peach in it," Parnell said.

Porter farms with existing peaches say the harvest will continue into the fall.

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