America is Suffering From a Painful Shortage of Peaches, But at Least There’s a Blueberry Glut
A devastating cold snap in February, dubbed the "Valentine's Day Massacre" by farmers, has led to a paltry peach harvest
It’s that time of the year we start rhapsodizing about the end of the summer, and, more importantly, smoosh all our favorite stone fruits between buttery layers of dough and baking a juicy fruit pie. But if you have your heart set on peaches, you may be out of luck, according to a recent article in the New York Times.
After what Northeast farmers refer to as the “Valentine’s Day Massacre,” when sub-zero temperatures killed the buds on peach trees around February 14th, New Jersey and southern New York lost much of their crop, while other parts of New England and the Hudson Valley lost everything. Every August, central Connecticut celebrates the Lyman Orchards Peach Festival; this year, it’s been renamed Corn Fest, because there are no peaches to be festive about.
But if you’re into blueberries, you’re in luck. MLIVE.com reports that 2016 is seeing a potentially record-breaking harvest. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Michigan picked our largest crop ever,” Mike DeGrandchamp, owner of DeGrandchamp Farms, is quoted in the MLive.com article, but the blueberry abundance isn’t localized to just one state or one type of blueberry. Maine is also seeing an over-supply of their signature wild blueberries—so much that the USDA is stepping in to buy nearly $4.4 million of the excess berries from the industry.
The balance between cultivated and wild blueberries is an interesting one; when one is in higher demand, the other tends to suffer. Ironically, Michigan leads the country in cultivated blueberry production, and Maine in wild blueberry production, pulling in a harvest of over 100 million pounds the past few years.
So if you find yourself at the market, maybe pick up a few more cartons of blueberries than you normally would—they’ll probably be cheaper than most other years, and they make a great hand pie with nectarines to fill the peach-shaped hole in your heart.