What Happened To The Peaches?

Haysville was once known as the “Peach Capital”. Some of the area orchards were…


Local residents suggest the orchards may have closed due to the following…
With unpredictable weather (like early warm temps and late frosts) it became just to risky of a crop. This at a time when modern transportation probably made it faster and cheaper to ship them in from places with better growing climates.
Bad ground water from the oil companies pumping in salt water to increase oil production.

Sources at the KSU John C. Pair Horticultural Center also add the following reasons…

Possibly not salt water being pumped into the ground but salt veins in the earth.
A glut on the market at one time during the peak time when there were a lot of peaches.

Another problem was that at one time a lot of the growers switched to two varieties of Peaches called Topaz and Loring but, those two varieties proved to be very poor performers for this area.

From a Kansas City Times article dated May 25th 1972…

Haysville, Kan.—Haysville or­chardmen plagued by freezes, hail and adverse peach crops have turned to raising hogs. The April 1 freeze destroyed nearly all the peach crop. Hail last year did much damage to the peaches. Not since 1967 have the orchards produced what owners consider a bumper peach crop. For years Haysville has been recognized as the peach capital of Kansas. “We’re just getting more diversified, for this peach crop will let you down sometimes,” explained John Garner, manager of Nicholson’s Orchards. Gerald Blood said winter kill da peaches motivated him to start a 1,000-head hog operation a year ago. “There is a great need for market hogs in Kansas,” Blood asserted.

9 thoughts on “What Happened To The Peaches?

  1. I grew up in Wichita Kansas and we used to go out and pick peaches by the bushel at BLOOD orchards. I can remember hearing my parents talk about a salt dome collapse (?) while the orchard was watering their fields and they didn’t realize it until it was too late. They were watering with salt water and it killed the trees…

    I don’t know if this is what happened but I can remember them talking about this…

  2. As a descendant of the Blood family I can confirm that it was ground water contamination from over drilling. There was nothing that could have been done if they had know. The trees roots were deep enough that they didn’t need to water them they took water directly from the water table which is why they did so well. During the drilling a salt water table was hit and because of poor controls the two tables got mixed. The company responsible paid for all the land and damages because back in those days there was still some code of honor.

  3. Well then that answers that… I was so little then so there was some semblance of truth to what my parents said.. that it was salt water… such a tragedy.. we absolutely loved going to Blood Orchards… I cannot tell you how many delectable pies/jams/jellies came from the fruit from those grounds…not to mention the memories that were made picking and going out there…

    What ever became of the grounds ? Are they still not viable for planting?

  4. I drove a tractor for Delos Nelson for 2 summers (1968 and 1969) to drop off people to pick peaches and then pick up. Wonderful memories of Delos and his Mother. She would collect the money in the little building on Grand.

    I also drove for Hancock’s (fall-1969)too during their apple season.

  5. In about 1966-1967 my buddies and I would ride out bicycles down to the orchard at 59th street and Jones street after the orchard had closed for the day. We would grab one of those big huge Golden Haven peaches and eat it. we would be sticky from the juice all over us. To this day, I have never had peaches that good.

  6. Yes, I too remember all the drilling and injections.. They had salt basins and overruns-spills all the time. careless practices and a view that plant life and oil drilling and no effects on each other in in way directly or remotely. They destroyed future generations from getting a chance to go with parents or grandparents and pick those devine peaches. I too remember the Red haven – Hale Haven – Early Glo. Etc. There was no peach ever eaten by Wichita Residents and surrounding areas better than those from the Orchards Listed. I frequented Blood and Hancock most.. I had dialog with an old Doc many years after the demise and he said the only other land suitable to that type of peach tree growth would be if a person or company could – would invest money and HARD work in land and trees being planted up around Ark. City. The soil need to be sandy loom per say with rready access to H20.. Cheers and long live the memories.

    1. Tree City USA is not a moniker that Haysville chose but rather a designation given to cities by the Arbor Day Foundation when a city meets certain criteria. I believe it was in the 50s or 60s that the governor did designate Haysville the Peach Capital Of Kansas.

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