Deep South Freeze Means Fewer Blueberries and Peaches

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Last week's sudden freezing temperatures, which hit just after an unusually warm February sent peach trees into bloom early, has dealt a serious blow to one of South Carolina's primary crops.

SC is the second biggest producer of peaches in the U.S.

On the bright side, he said, strawberries mostly made it through and are already setting fruit.

"They're not going to have these peaches at least early in the season and quite possibly not at all because whether we have enough to ship or not is still being determined" said Carr.

The annual blueberry farm gate value in Georgia is over $255 million. "Looks like 80% of our crop is gone".

"We actually salvaged all of it, so I am really blessed, I am so happy, and the fruit is coming off just fantastic".

About 85 percent of the Edgefield County peach crop was wiped out by three straight nights of below-freezing temperatures last week, according to Sonny Yonce of Big Smile Peaches in Johnston.

"There's a lot of work that goes into all this".

Peaches should be available in limited quantities in July and August. "We're not going to have a full crop by no means", he said. Peach farms are major economic drivers in rural communities and support more than 1,500 jobs statewide.

Congress' most recent Farm Bill was signed into law in 2014. "Peaches are a signature South Carolina crop, and this weather anomaly has devastated peach farmers", said Hugh Weathers, SC Commissioner of Agriculture in a SCDA statement.

Midland and Upstate blueberry farmers are reporting a significant loss, similar to that of peaches, according to the department's release. Information is still being gathered from blueberry farms in the lower part of the state.

South Georgia's economy is going to take a big hit this spring, after nearly 90 percent of the blueberry crop was destroyed by freezing weather.