Strong strawberry crop buoys South Carolina fruit growers

05/01/2014 12:44:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

South Carolina strawberriesCourtesy Clemson UniversityAlthough an April cold snap may have cut into the South Carolina peach crop, strawberries appear to have dodged the bullet.

For growers with both crops, the strawberry outlook comes as good news, according to a news release.

“We had pretty severe damage on our peaches, but I feel pretty optimistic right now about strawberries,” Thomas Ragan, who grows both crops on his farm near Boiling Springs, said in the release. “We dodged the recent rain and the strawberries seem to be coming in well now. We have excellent quality, and now the yield is improving with the warmer weather.”

Some peach growers lost all of their crop to the cold, according to Andy Rollins, a Clemson University Extension agent who works with upstate commercial fruit and vegetable growers.

But most of the upstate strawberry growers also were spared the heavy rains.

Strawberries are moving into peak production, and yield and quality appear high, according to the release.

Growers who had peach orchards at some of the higher altitudes, such as in the Chesnee and Gowensville areas, saw warmer temperatures and didn't have as much damage.

While some growers will have no crop, others will still have peaches.

The unknown remains about the quality.

Often peaches look fine earlier in the season and damage doesn't become apparent until closer to harvest.



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