"Very Optimistic": Local peach farmer addresses cold weather impact on crop
EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WFXG) - Spring may look like it has sprung, but a freeze warning is in effect right now in our area. This comes as dozens of peach trees are in bloom across the river ahead of harvest season. A local farmer says he's optimistic that his farm will still produce a good crop.
South Carolina comes second in the nation for peach production. That's even surpassing Georgia - considered the "Peach State." The southeast’s biggest grower calls the CSRA home: Titan Farms. Despite the cold, they say things right now are pretty "peachy."
In Edgefield County, there's a sea of pink as far as the eye can see.
"We’ve got 6,300 acres of peaches on this farm...Just a couple weeks ago, the trees were dormant so there were no buds, there were no leaves – now you can see how vibrant everything is!” said Jason Rodgers, Titan Farms Chief Operating Officer.
Titan Farms grows peaches across Saluda, Edgefield and Aiken counties. Typically, they’d see about 65 million pounds of peaches in a year. They’re looking forward to another harvest.
"We’ve had a good winter – we’ve had a good chill for the peaches,” said Rodgers.
While buds of pink and shades of green show promise of spring, this cold snap suggests not so fast.
"I am very optimistic...[But] The verdict is still out for this year because we don’t have all the peaches on the tree.” said Rodgers.
Chief Operating Officer Jason Rodgers believes this shouldn’t be a threat - for now.
"We have not thinned our crop yet, so if we are going to get a freeze that may take some of the peaches off the tree, now is a good time for that to happen.” said Rodgers.
Rodgers indicates some trees can be seen with a natural barrier already growing - the shuck.
"It’s the blanket, if you will. So, it's to help protect it in times like this when we have cooler weather.” said Rodgers.
April still presents a final hurdle for the farm, but until then his trees are showing progress.
"[The Trees] They’re strong, they’re in good shape, so they’re going to produce us a really good crop this year.” said Rodgers.
Harvest and packing season begins in May and runs through September.
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