Besides fearing for their crops amid uncertain weather conditions, fruit farmers were worried that the novel pandemic would adversely affect demand for produce. However, a spokesperson for the farming community revealed that 2020 has yielded decent returns so far.
“When COVID-19 started, it looked kind of dismal,” Jaemor Farms owner Drew Echols told WSB-TV. “You didn’t know where demand was going to be. The restaurants. The schools. All those shutdowns.”
However, Georgia was the first state to reopen when its shelter-in-place order expired on April 30, reports Fox Business, which had a hugely positive effect for the state’s farming industry.
The Jaemor Farms market in Hall County has been busy ever since, far surpassing farmers’ most optimistic projections, said Echols. Orchards in northern, central, and southern Georgia are experiencing higher-than-normal demand for their fruit, profit-promoting sale prices, and near-perfect weather.
“About every week or 10 days, we get about an inch of rain,” Echols explained to WSB-TV. “So Glenn and all the meteorologists down there at WSB, y’all just keep on doing what you’re doing. If we can order it, if farmers can order it, we’ll take an inch a week!”
The Georgia peach harvest is expected to continue through to mid-August.
“Many are touting fresh peaches as the feel-good fruit of the summer,” the co-founder of peach wholesaler Genuine Georgia, Will McGehee, told Fresh Plaza. “With these uncertain times … Everyone needs a taste of familiar comfort these days.”
Georgia, fondly nicknamed the “peach state,” has long been associated with the fuzzy summer fruit. During peach season, Georgia’s roads are habitually lined with farm stands selling fresh produce and peach-branded merchandise.
Notably, while Georgia is known as the Peach State, South Carolina has produced a higher annual peach yield than Georgia since 1984, reports Greenville News. Peach production in California, with agricultural land roughly five times the size of South Carolina’s, consistently dwarfs peach production in both eastern states combined, however.
In summer of 2018, interstate peach rivalry hit fever pitch on social media. A program of Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Grown, took to Twitter to reclaim the title in the name of taste, despite that South Carolina was harvesting a higher volume.
“SCDAgriculture says they harvest three times more peaches than GA,” Georgia Grown wrote. “We say ours are 3 X SWEETER.”
South Carolina Department of Agriculture only responded with a sassy comeback: “Bless your heart, @GeorgiaGrown.”
While the contest for the fuzzy fruit title may persist, at least peach farmers in both states can take comfort in bountiful 2020 harvests despite all the year has thrown at them so far.
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