The first Hill Country peaches are popping up at restaurants and roadside stands, but the farmers who grow them warn that this year’s peach season isn’t going to be so great this year.

I’m usually a skeptic about “shortages” just ahead of peak buying times, but I’ve been talking with peach growers in the Fredericksburg area for many years, and they don’t exaggerate when there’s a problem.

Peach season typical runs from mid-May through the first week of August, but this year’s season will likely be shorter, according to Hill Country growers. Photo by Mauri Elbel

This year’s issue is the lack of chill hours required for the trees to bloom and set fruit properly.

The clingstone varieties that ripen in May and June are often “low chill” trees, so they are doing OK, but there are only about half as many of the freestone peaches, which ripen later in the summer, according to Jamey Vogel of the Vogel Orchard family in Stonewall and president of the Hill Country Fruit Council in an interview with the Dallas Morning News.

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Vogel says the peak will likely be mid-June instead of early- to mid-July and that he’s hoping growers will have a 50 percent yield, while Russ Studebaker is estimating that his crop will be closer to 30 percent.

If you do get your hands on some amazing peaches, make sure to try this upside down peach cake. It was one of the most popular recipes we ran last year, and it couldn’t be easier.

This upside down peach cake is easy to make, especially if you have freestone peaches, which come off the pit easier than clingstone peaches. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman