Peach output looks to be variable again this season

Flamm Orchards introduces mobile truck that will stop in Geneva, Kankakee

Peaches at the Flamm Orchard in Cobden are maturing well in May. At this rate, peach harvest should start around the first week of July in Union County, Parker Flamm said.

The 2024 peach season is shaping up to be similar to last year.

In some parts of Illinois, there will be virtually no peaches because of a cold snap earlier this year. In others, peach farmers expect to harvest about half their normal crop, and one farm expects an “above average” crop.

All in all, there will be peaches this summer around the state, and growers expect them to be early.

“Pretty much everybody in Calhoun County lost most of their peaches this year,” said Sandy Odelehr of Odelehr’s Roadside Market in Brussels. Peaches are one of their main crops.

“We’ll power through,” she said of the setback. It is the second year of major losses for some peach growers. “Last year we had half a crop,” she said.

“We do have lots of other crops,” Odelehr noted. Their 150 different crops include many types of berries and other fruits and vegetables. They also make their own jams, pies and products that will keep their market in Calhoun County busy.

So far, Rendelman Orchards near Alto Pass in Union County looks like it will have “a good peach crop.” It came through the winter pretty well, said Wayne Sirles, fifth generation of the family farm.

In Union County, things are looking “pretty good” at Flamm Orchards, said Mike Flamm, who is expecting an “above average” peach harvest.

“We got lucky,” he said. Temperatures stayed about 2 degrees above freezing in his area, while other parts of southern Illinois sustained temperatures below freezing long enough to destroy a crop.

“All you can do is hope and pray when temperatures get that low,” he said.

“Lucky 13″ is one of Flamm’s unlucky varieties this year. “We’ve got some but not a full crop.”

Flamm expects the peach season to start earlier than the typical July 4, maybe in June in his area.

This year, it will be easier for central and northern Illinois residents to get Flamm peaches with the introduction of their new mobile truck that will make stops at designated Tractor Supply Co. locations.

“It’s a completely new thing,” Parker Flamm said of the effort to get more local peaches to consumers. Starting in mid-June, people can pre-order on Flamm’s website, and in July, an ad with details will run in FarmWeek.

The Flamm mobile peach truck plans to visit Geneva from July 28 to Aug. 17; Kankakee from July 27 to Aug. 18; Springfield from July 20 to Aug. 4 and Bloomington from July 21 to Aug. 3.

Eckert’s in St. Clair County falls somewhere between highs and lows of other counties.

“We’re in the middle zone. We will have about half a crop. That’s a little better than last year,” said Chris Eckert, president and CEO of Eckert’s family farm, in Belleville.

“That’s raising peaches in Illinois,” he said of the weather-related challenges.

This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit