An unusually warm winter and subsequent late spring freeze caused Georgia to lose more than 90 percent of its peach crop this year. In 2021, the 130 million pounds of peaches produced in the Peach State were valued at around $85 million. Lawton Pearson of Pearson Farm in Fort Valley, Georgia told CNN the peach crop hasn’t been hit this bad since back in 1955. Peaches need some periods of cold weather to fruit, but the first three months of 2023 were the warmest on record in Georgia and the number of days cold enough for a healthy peach crop has been dwindling as the climate continues to warm.
“We know winters are getting warmer,” Pam Knox, a University of Georgia agricultural climatologist, told Georgia NPR affiliate WABE last year. “And there’s no explanation other than human-caused global warming.” After planting, peach trees take three to four years before they can be harvested each year. (CNN, WABE, Atlanta Journal Constitution $)