This year's growing season has been full of excitement and challenges. We are bringing a larger harvest to market, have expanded with more trees including diversification, invested in breakthrough cultivation practices, begun utilizing a drone for better photography of the farm, and hosted very special visitors.
Weather has been the largest challenge, with conditions starting out dry followed by a long harsh summer and drought into early fall. This has resulted in high use of irrigation systems, with something always needing tended to or worked on from high use. Regardless, the successes make the early mornings, long hot days and late nights all worth it.
Now our sites are set on harvest, excited about what we'll have to offer you! The Satsuma and Georgia Kiss crop will be at record production; several...
Always exciting, when Dal Cannady from WTOC News comes for a visit. I think we grazed on citrus more than we talked about the story. You could say it's a job perk, for both of us. Seriously though, had a great time!
Cool temperatures are THE KEY to maturing quality satsumas. It makes their sugars sky rocket and the peels turn orange. Just a month ago, we thought this week would be the start of harvest 2018. The weather had other plans. September ended on a hot note and October started out warm, thus the satsumas are not quite ripe yet. The good news is, they're very close. They are finally getting the cool night temperatures they must have, to mature into the premium quality you've come to love about Franklin's Georgia Citrus. Following is a list of opening dates we're shooting for. Keep in mind, this list is just the first week of harvest! As more ripen, we'll be in multiple other markets and online mail order will open.
Statesboro's Main Street Farmers Market (November 3rd)
Savannah's Forsyth Park Farmers Market (November 3rd)
Georgia Peach Truck in Atlanta and surrounding areas (November 3rd)
Franklin's Citrus Farm Stand in Statesboro (November 5th)
Another close call but most of our damage was to younger citrus trees. We had a few total losses, and a couple hundred severely leaning or with broke branches. Overall blessed compared to many farmers in Southwest Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.
Pecan orchards, which took decades and generations to grow just leveled. Thousands of acres of cotton, peanuts, vegetables and more, experienced major crop loss. Georgia's Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black fears over $1 billion in crop damage!
So it's all about perspective. The damage stung but thankful it wasn't worse. The team did a wonderful job staking trees straight and cutting damaged limbs. We even took advantage of having to work through the young fields, doing maintenance pruning and plucking stubborn pig weed while there.
Not to mention how beautiful it has been after the storm. Temperatures...
This has been the best growing season yet! Many of our trees profusely bloomed this past spring, causing them to set heavy, Fruit quality seems like it will be superb, with nice tight skin and medium size fruit (which is what we consider perfect). All of this seems like a dream come true after the snowstorm hit here last January. We really did not know what to expect after such a brutal winter. Extra rains this summer have been a little challenging too but hey, that's farming. Also, our newest young fields seem to be growing some really healthy trees that will be able to go into production in the near future. Every time we expand, its seems slightly more successful than the last. Much of this is due to learning from our mistakes and continual reverse engineering when things go right. Now with what looks to be a record crop, the launch of our new website, and reopening mail order this fall, we are looking forward to the most successful harvest yet!