The crops are spared

Close your eyes and think of strawberries and peaches.

It won't be long before these much-anticipated and locally grown treasures will begin arriving at fruit stands across the state. And that's a big relief after last year's tragic late freeze that claimed just about every peach blossom and strawberry plant in the state.

York County farmers had a scare near the end of last month. An overnight freeze on March 26 had everyone worried that this year's crop might be nipped as well.

Thankfully, both peach trees and berry plants came through in good shape. While the temperatures did dip below freezing, it didn't stay cold enough, long enough to do much harm.

This month still could spring a surprise on us. On this day, a year ago, the area experienced its coldest April morning on record -- 21 degrees -- in the midst of a historic April cold snap.

It was, of course, devastating to crops not only in South Carolina but also throughout the Southeast. The only peaches and berries in the stores came from out of state, mostly from California, and the quality was nowhere close to the locally grown produce -- if we do say so, and proudly, as residents of the second-highest peach producing state in the nation (behind California but ahead of Georgia).

We don't want to speak too soon this year, but we do have visions of peach cobbler and strawberry shortcake dancing in our heads. Let's hope Mother Nature is through tormenting us with late freezes.