Deep South freeze means fewer blueberries and peaches

FILE - In this Thursday, July 30, 2015 file photo, blueberries fill a tray on a harvester in a field near Appleton, Maine. Some farms report a decrease of more than half in the number of migrant workers they employed compared to just a few years ago due to the increased use of mechanical harvesters. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Last week’s deep freeze in the Southeast appears to have nearly wiped out Georgia’s blueberries and South Carolina’s peaches.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture said 85 percent of the state’s peaches were damaged by two days of temperatures dipping into the 20s Wednesday and Thursday.

South Carolina is the second biggest producer of peaches in the U.S.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black says up to 80 percent of the blueberry crop in the southern part of the state was destroyed.

Georgia grows early season blueberries and the crop is worth more than peaches.

Apples also suffered freeze damage in North Carolina.

While mid-March freezes aren’t unusual in much of the Southeast, many crops were blooming up to three weeks early because of the unusually mild winter.

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