Things are looking anything but peachy for the state of Georgia this growing season. The combination of an uncommonly warm winter and a hard, early-spring freeze has decimated nearly 80 percent of the state’s peach crop, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Adding to the state’s agricultural woes is a similarly disastrous blueberry crop; together, the loss of both could add up to a more than $300 million loss to the Peach State’s farmers. If you live out of state and still look forward to Georgia peaches every summer, you might not find as many in shops “because the supply will be down [and] farmers will not spend the money to ship their product out of state.”
Things are equally as grim in South Carolina where up to 90 percent of the state’s peach crop was lost. In March, according to the Charlotte Observer, the state experienced sudden freezing temperatures after an odd warm February caused the peach trees to bloom early.
In a state that takes in some $90 million each year from its peach crop — second only to California in peach production — that’s a huge blow and the heaviest loss in about 10 years since a similar freeze situation in 2007. The South Carolina peach industry’s loss could have a $300 million impact on local economics, along with 1,500 jobs.
Farmers won’t be the only ones feeling the pain; consumers across the country can expect to pay a lot more for peaches this year. In Georgia alone, peach prices are nearly twice as much as normal.
However, as Mark Sanchez, CEO of Georgia’s Lane Southern Orchards, told the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We know these years can happen. It’s part of the beast. You’re going to have strong years and weak years.”