SC Commissioner Weathers: Spring and Summer Produce Outlook
It’s an exciting time of year for people who grow produce in South Carolina, as well as for people who buy and eat it!
Producers are feeling good despite some weather events in March and factors like high input costs, pest pressure, and labor availability.
Brassicas and leafy greens: The warmer February resulted in damage for some varieties of Brassicas and leafy greens, but newer transplants are underway and growing well.
Strawberries: We had a strong start to strawberry season. Good quality berries. Most farmers were able to cover their strawberries ahead of the mid-March frosts and avoid damage to their plants. U-pick fields are open, and farmers are sending lots of berries to market.
Blueberries: Unfortunately, some blueberry plants that were not able to be frost-protected were damaged, as the warmer weather in February had pushed plants to develop earlier. We may see less volume for early-season blueberries, but we expect that the blueberry harvest will rebound in the later season.
Peaches: The warm February meant that peaches were further along when the March cold weather rolled in. Growers are still working to assess the extent of the damage from recent freezes, but it seems likely that early season varieties will not be as available in May and early June. Later blooming varieties seemed to fare better, so hopefully those harvests will largely unaffected. There will also be some geographic variation. On the upside, chill hours seem to have been sufficient.
Summer: Early summer crops are also beginning to be transplanted and appear to be doing well.