Hard freeze leaves north Georgia apple picking season shorter than normal

ELLIJAY, Ga. — A hard freeze last spring is spelling trouble for apple farmers in north Georgia this fall.

John Reece say this past Easter was one he won’t forget after spending all night in his family’s apple orchard in Ellijay.

“I knew it was pretty bad when it went down to 26 or 27 degrees for 12 hours,” Reece said.

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B.J. Reece Orchards has 230 acres of apple trees.

“Out of 230, we probably lost 175 or 185,” Reece told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen.

The freeze killed the blooms. No blooms means no apples.

“If there’s something like a freeze, you can’t predict. For local farmers, that’s devastating for them,” customer Lisa Estrin said. Lisa brought her family to the orchard and market to support a local business.


Reece showed Channel 2 Action News many parts of the farm that came through the cold just fine. The picking season usually lasts through the end of October, but this year it’ll be cut short.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll have it all the way through September. We’re fortunate. You can tell by looking at the trees. They’re loaded. So, we’re trying to stretch it out as long as we can,” Reece said.