All of Massachusetts’ peach growers could be shut out this year.
Jon Clements, a tree fruit specialist working for University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Extension Fruit Program told the Sentinel and Enterprise of Fitchburg, MA, that because there are 200 farms that grow peaches/nectarines in Massachusetts alone, the extent of the loss is hard to track.
Clements, a member of American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines’ Editorial Advisory Board, said the damage could not only affect the entire state, but Connecticut and Rhode Island as well.
“I don’t think you’ll find a single peach in any of those states,” he said.
As Clements explains it, the widespread crop loss was made possible after the warm winter left peach trees vulnerable to a sudden drop in temperature that occurred on Valentine’s Day.
“When temperatures start to go below minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, we typically expect the peach buds to start dying off,” Clements told the newspaper. “They just aren’t hardy enough for it, it, which is why we don’t see them growing in the wild.”