ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The first day of spring brought some warmer weather, but some are still feeling the impact of the last few days of cold weather.
The late freeze hit some fruit farmers hard wiping out a lot of their crop. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture says around 85 percent of the state’s peach crop were damaged by the low temperatures.
Farmers expect to see a shortage in peaches, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Although some of those crops were hit harder than others.
“Seeing a loss is never comforting especially to the farmer when you do put in so many hours, but at this point, we’re up to mother nature’s mercy,” said Angi Edelen, co-owner of Berry Acres.
Edelen and her husband laid out crop covers across their 70-acre farm before the cold weather hit. Even with all of their preparation, they say they lost between 30 and 40 percent of their strawberry crops. They did not have numbers for their peach, blueberry, or blackberry crops yet.
“We know that there’s going to be a slow down for the strawberries in about three to four weeks,” Edelen said.
However, the warmer winter caused many of their strawberries to bloom early, so they still have a pretty healthy crop.
Clemson Extension says the early bloom may help farmers in the Upstate see a larger strawberry crop load than normal.
They say that’s the good news in comparison to the peach crops. Many farmers lost the majority of their peach crops because of the freeze, which was the crop with the most damage across the Upstate.
“There is going to be a decrease in the amount of berries which then makes an increase in the price for the consumer,” Edelen said.
Leaving farmers like her and her husband to pray for continued sunshine and consistent temperatures.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to see our way out of it,” Edelen said.
South Carolina produces the second largest number of peaches in the country behind California.
Berry Acres is still planning on opening early in the next couple weeks.