Peach Fuzz Delayed Due to Peach Freeze

Farmers lament over weather damage to crops

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By Monique Williams

Gilbert, S.C. (WOLO) -- Peach orchards across the state are barely bearing fruit, as agriculture experts say the weather has taken its toll on farmers' crops.

It's a sight fourth generation peach farmer, Larry Taylor of Taylor Farms in Gilbert, never wants to see.

"Nothing there but leaves," is how he describes what should be grape-like peaches forming on dozens of trees in his peach orchard.

However, the wrath of mother nature is evident.

Taylor spend Wednesday afternoon plowing the ground, preparing, he says, to plan vegetables soon. He's given up on peaches, saying some 75 percent of his crop is destroyed by wacky weather.

"Freeze, hail storm, anything can devastate you," said Taylor. "It's a part of life."

South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, Hugh Weathers, agrees. He adds, though, the overall message for the state is peaches will be available, just not as early.

"You might normally look for peaches the first of June. Now, look for them in the middle of June," said Weathers. He claims statewide peach farmers will see a combined $15-million loss due to abrupt changes in the weather. By the end of June, the fruit should be more visible at your local grocer or fruit stand.

Even Larry Taylor realizes, as much as he has lost, the sun will come out tomorrow, bringing warmer weather and brighter days.

"It's not a total loss. We just take it one day at a time. one day at a time."

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