By Kasey Joyce
Belleville, IL (KSDK) - The Eckerts have been growing fruit for nearly 200 years, but this year is one for the record books.
"We've had the biggest crop this year than we ever had," said Chris Eckert. "The mild winter really allowed the buds to make it through the winter."
And that means things at the farm have been a little hectic.
"We've had to really hustle to get things in place to get ready to harvest a crop," Eckert said. "Normally we'd have another three weeks to get everything in place."
This year everything's coming early. In fact, this would typically be the heart of strawberry season, but those berries have come and gone.
"We started harvesting strawberries in the state of Illinois in April, which is about three weeks earlier than normal," Eckert said.
So you may have to change your Memorial Day menu.
"We're used to having strawberry shortcake, so now we're going to have peach cobbler instead," said Eckert's customer Mark St. Ivany.
But Eckert says that shouldn't be too much of a tradeoff.
"I think they taste pretty darn good," he said of the crop.
Those peaches are already being put to good use inside the Eckert's store in coffee cake, muffins and peaches and cream.
And customers say there's a lot to look forward to when they actually go on sale Saturday morning.
"I love the nectar, the sweetness, the fuzz and looking at the big seed when you get through," said customer Glenn Rogers.
The first batch of peaches goes on sale at Eckert's tomorrow morning. You won't be able to pick your own until about the first of July. Eckert's has a couple amazing peach recipes, peach sangria and peach, prosciutto and ricotta crostini.
Click herefor some delicious recipes.