Columbia, SC (WLTX) - We've got some bad news for peach lovers: the shelves will not be as full this summer season.
"Peaches are probably the biggest love of my life in the summer time," said Kathy Windgate, a South Carolina resident.
That is why Windgate was at the South Carolina State Farmer's Market on Thursday getting a bag full.
"I haven't had one yet this year so I'm tickled to get home and try the peaches out," Windgate said.
Unfortunately, this year there aren't as many to try because of the late freeze that laid waste to South Carolina peaches.
"In the spring when we have these late freezes that's my first worry, what's going to happen to the peach crop," Windgate said.
The answer lies here in the empty shelves at the Farmer's Market. Stands usually full to capacity with peaches were partially empty. One vendor tells us they lost 75% of their peach crop.
"The losses are pretty significant," said South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers.
Weathers says South Carolina lost 80% of the peach crop, taking a huge hit to our agribusiness.
"All the impact that peaches have, it's well over a quarter of a billion dollars," Weathers said.
That's a tune of about $200 million dollars, but the song isn't over. Weathers says the freeze only impacted the early variety of peaches.
"You get to July Fourth, you get to our freestone peaches," Weathers said, "the ones that really make South Carolina people just drool all over when they eat one. You'll see more quantity then."
That's music to Windgate's ears, who's already ready for her favorite summer treats.
"Peach ice cream, that's my favorite," Windgate said.
Weathers says our effected peach trees will bloom again next year and just hopes mother nature will deal another set of cards.