Mother Nature confuses nature at Arizona farm

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A streak of unusually warm and dry weather in the Valley is throwing nature for a loop.

Mark Schnepf of Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek is discovering peach blossoms -- and even tiny peaches in his orchard.

"What we've had this year is something I've never seen before," Schnepf. "That's just wrong. It's just the wrong time of year for that to happen."

November is normally a time when Schnepf is harvesting fall veggies like radishes, lettuce, eggplants and peppers. It isn't until early February when his trees should show peach blossoms. The peaches are then typically ready to pick in April.

Not only are the trees confused, Schnepf is confused, but with the fifth warmest October on record in the Phoenix area, and the last measurable rain not seen since Aug. 23, all signs point to the weather being to blame.

"The normal weather would be much cooler weather, more overcast," said Schnepf. "Maybe a front or two has moved through so that we have some moisture in the ground. None of that has happened."

What Schnepf doesn't want is any more of his 5,000 peach trees to show more shades of pink.

"If they bloom and put on fruit now, it's going to get cold and we'll lose it all," said Schnepf.

Being the largest producer of peaches in Arizona, that could be a big economic blow.

"It does worry me, because we have a big peach blossom celebration in February, where we get thousands of people who turn out, and from those blossoms you get your peach crop. Each blossom can turn into a peach," said Schnepf.

Schnepf said once these trees produce peaches for the year, they won't produce again until the following year, so potentially, 150,000 pounds of peaches are on the line if some cooler and wetter weather doesn't arrive soon.

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