Frigid night could damage S.C. peach crops

by: John Ahrens Updated:


FORT MILL, S.C. - Frigid temperatures Tuesday night may not only hit records, they could permanently damage this year's peach crop in South Carolina.
The state is one of the country's top peach-growers and unfortunately, there's really nothing farmers can do to save their crop.

It's already hard enough for Nekisha Cosey to afford a visit the grocery store.
"With everything else changing in the economy, you really can't afford the price of fruit," Cosey said.
Those prices may get even higher if peaches across South Carolina don't make it through the night.
"It's going be a tough night," said Ron Edwards of Springs Farm in Fort Mill.
He showed Channel 9 one of his orchards, which are 90 percent bloomed and very vulnerable to freezing temperatures
"The amount of time is what kills us,” Edwards said. "(Could) this kind of cold could wipe out a crop like this? It could."
Edwards can't protect his peaches the way he does his strawberries because it would damage the limbs.
"Well, while we were here, we did find one thing that may get these blooms through the night and that was the rain (Tuesday),” he said. “We didn't dry out too much. You can find the drops still on the bloom. That will freeze. But that will also release energy that might provide a protective coating around these blooms. These blooms right here will probably make it versus a lower bloom. You can afford to lose that, right? Right. We'll sacrifice a few on the low (areas) to save the ones on top."
Edwards plans to cover his strawberries Tuesday night but said he'll just have to wait and see if the peaches survive.

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