Tuesday, June 3, 2014
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga
After a long and very harsh winter, many farmers in Georgia and South Carolina took a big hit. But, it's not all bad news. This is the first week a lot of Georgia farmers are putting their summer crops such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries up for sale. Many farmers did get some damage from the ice storm, but funny enough, farmers around here say they're doing just fine.
This is only Louis Newsome's second blueberry season, but he was scared he would lose it all after a year of preparation. He said, "I was very worried especially with the cold weather during bloom, but we seemed to have weathered it very well."
That's why he wasn't expecting too much when when his blueberries finally started to bloom this week. He said, "I wasn't surprised when they bloomed but I definitely was surprised when they didn't fall off!"
Surprisingly, the harsh winter might have actually been good for berries this season. Gary W. Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture said the frost let nature do the hard part for most farmers, thinning the crops to just the right amount. Newsome said, "Well I guess if anything this is a relief, because it would be hard to put in a whole years work and not get anything in return."
And that is a relief for you at check out, because a good berry crop means lower prices in the stores. While things like blackberries and muscadines fared well, it's a different story for peaches.
Terry judge is a local Augusta farmer. He said, "The peach crop is way behind. We're probably about four to five weeks behind."
For most Georgia farmers only about half of their peaches came in. But locally, peach farmers like Judge saw a pretty good return, as much as 80 percent of their crops are coming in.
Judge said, "We're probably going to be a little late, but we're probably going to have a good long summer."
And that's the case for most of the produce this season, and for that farmer's are grateful. While the Georgia berry crop will be fairly inexpensive this year, you can expect higher prices on those Georgia peaches.