SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Farmers across Georgia say the weather earlier this year is impacting this season’s crops.
Right in the middle of peach season, farmers and produce vendors are in a tough spot. Nothing like this has happened since 2017 when the state lost 80% of its peach crop.
Sherry Davis, Owner of Davis Produce said, “The season got started really late this year. Everything came a month behind. Our local farmers are just starting to bring in their produce, which should have arrived a month ago.
Georgia typically produces more than 130 million lbs of peaches per year – they only produced a quarter of that this year.
According to the University Of Georgia, the crop is valued at $85 million.
However, after unusually warm weather and a late-season freeze – the majority of peach crops were damaged.
This left vendors scrambling for alternatives – one local produce stand has decided to source their peaches from South Carolina.
“We’ve been selling South Carolina peaches. Georgia’s crop has been affected a lot. The frost we got this year affected us very much,” explained Randy Davis of Davis Produce.
Davis says a significant portion of Georgia’s peaches are canned and shipped internationally – rather than being served fresh.
Although Georgia is known as the peach state – it actually ranks third in production behind California and South Carolina.
Davis said, “They have always had better quality peaches. They are giant, juicy. Georgia’s are usually a little bit smaller.”
In order for peaches to properly develop – there must be a balance of warm and cold weather throughout the spring.
Temperatures throughout the state were six degrees warmer than usual this year.
The Atlanta Journal reports that Georgia farmers will be losing around $60 million due to the shortage of peaches.
“The season will be shorter. It looks like we won’t have peaches later in the fall,” Shery Davis told News 3.
Although this year’s erratic weather took a toll on businesses throughout the state – they hope that things return back to normal next year.