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Area growers ‘dodged a bullet’ with regional fruit crop

In this April 2015 file photo, strawberries were ready for picking at the Springs Farm in Fort Mill.
In this April 2015 file photo, strawberries were ready for picking at the Springs Farm in Fort Mill. Special to The Fort Mill Times

Last weekend’s cold temperatures caused only minor damage to the fruit crop, leading York County and Chester County farmers to predict the best crop since 2007, maybe longer.

Arthur Black of western York County said the cold weather “backed up” in some of his lower lying orchards, affecting his mid-season Lorin peaches.

Matt Gusmer of Windy Hill Orchard on Black Highway in York said there was a slight loss in apple blooms, but “it was a natural thinning.”

“We dodged a bullet,” Gusmer said. His apple crop was in full bloom and vulnerable to cold temperatures in the mid-20s. Fortunately, the low at the Wendy Hill Orchard was about 28 degrees, he said.

The weather did not harm the strawberry crop, which is already being picked. Most farmers placed fiber covers over the strawberries, which protected them from the cold and frost.

The Springs Farm in Fort Mill and Cotton Hills Farm in Lowrys are already picking strawberries. The Peach Stand at the corner of U.S. 21 and S.C. 160 has strawberries for sale and the Cotton Hills Farm market begins its season Friday.

Local raspberries and peaches should be ready for picking at the end of May, followed by tomatoes and blackberries in June, farmers said.

“We should have a huge (peach) crop this year,” said Jeb Wilson of Cotton Hills Farm, “the biggest crop in 10 years.”

Don Worthington: 803-329-4066, @rhherald_donw

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