GILLESPIE COUNTY, Texas -- In a section of the Hill Country where peach orchards stretch for miles, farmers are finally smiling.

As bad as things were last year, I never thought we d be in this good of a position, grower Jamey Vogel said.

Vogel s peach farm has been in his family for more than 50 years.

Last year was one of the bad ones. Record drought killed off his trees and left him wondering if he would ever recover.

But then the rains came, along with a cool winter. Now, peaches are returning to branches. Though they are not yet ready to pick, Vogel believes this year could still rank among his best.

He also said that the harvest could come two weeks early, and that he may be picking peaches by the first week of May.

Extension specialist and horticulturalist Jim Kamas practically called that a miracle. He pointed out that peaches are not the only crop to be bouncing back either.

We had a beautiful pear bloom. Grape vines are looking in tremendous condition. Blackberries are coming out of dormancy, Kamas said. All of our perennial crops are in great shape right now.

They are not the words that hethought he'dbe saying just a few months ago.

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