Thursday morning freeze may have damaged York County peaches

04/17/2014 5:26 PM

04/17/2014 7:03 PM

Some mid-season peach varieties may have been damaged by Thursday morning’s frost, which was heavier than expected, regional farmers said.

Arthur Black of Black’s Peaches near York said some Wind Blow peaches appeared to have suffered most from the two-day cold snap that sent temperatures to just below freezing. He said it will take a couple days of sunshine to assess the damage. Other varieties of peaches, just past their bloom, were not as affected with their “shuck covering” protecting them, he said.

Tomatoes and apples, also considered vulnerable to frost, made it through the cold, said Matthew Gusmer of Windy Hill Orchard near York and Jeb Wilson of Cotton Hills Farm in Chester.

“There’s a little bit of burn on the apples, but we’re happy,” Gusmer said. “We’ll be watching them the next couple of days.”

Wilson said the cold snap did not seem to harm his recently planted tomatoes, which were started in a greenhouse. Black said he was planting about 2,000 tomatoes Thursday.

Ron Edwards of Springs Farm in Fort Mill said it will likely be another day before the covers are removed from his strawberry crop. Regional farmers either use cloth covers or straw to protect strawberries when the weather turns cold.

Edwards said he is counting on sunshine and a little moisture to ripen his strawberry crop for the upcoming S.C. Strawberry Festival in Fort Mill, which starts May 2. His crews will pick about 1,000 gallons of strawberries for the festival and for sale at the Springs Farm’s store. Picking the festival’s strawberries is a full 10-hour day for about 20 workers, he said.

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