For some South Carolina peach farmers, the recent cold snap threatens to ruin the fruits of their labor.
With Peach blossoms sprouting on trees across the state, it marks the beginning of the growing season. Cold snaps during this stage in their development threaten theses fledgling blossoms.
On Wednesday, the National Weather Service announced a freeze warning claiming that temperatures could drop into the low 20s overnight. Black’s Peaches owner Arthur Black, said temperatures that low could completely destroy his crop.
“80 percent of our peaches have bloomed out, so 80 percent are real susceptible to the cold,” he said.
There is only a single peach harvest each year at his York farm, meaning that if the peach blossoms die so early in the year, there might not be a harvest at all.
“This will cause a shortage,” said Black. “You don’t rebloom on peaches, you get a bloom and if it is gone, it’s gone.”
Black said he’s talked to other peach farmers about what they will try to do to save their crops. According to Black, some farmers will try to cover the trees with plastic to keep them warm (a technique used for strawberries plants). But he said that process is very labor-intensive and does not always produce good results on bigger trees. Black said he intends to wait out the cold and hope for the best for his peach trees.
But with his farm’s peaches in jeopardy, Black is worried he won’t have an income from peaches this year.
“That’s the nature of this beast being a peach farmer,” laughed Black. “It tests you on how sovereign and strong-willed you are in this time of year.”
Farmers will know by the weekend, or once the cold subsides, about what kind of growing season they’ll get.