Summer is around the corner, and in Georgia, summer means peaches.
But horticulturists at the University of Georgia say roughly 90% of the Peach State’s crop has been destroyed by bad weather and a warming climate.
The last time things were this bad was 1955, according to Lawton Pearson of Pearson Farm in Fort Valley, Georgia.
“I didn’t see it. I wasn’t alive,” Pearson says. “My dad was only six. My grandfather picked two peaches, and they went to California for the summer.”
Peaches require a minimum number of chill hours, below 45 degrees, to set fruit. But the first three months of this year were the warmest on record in Georgia, and chill hours here have been declining over the years. That’s due to climate change.