Georgia blueberry farmers regroup after storm destroys crops - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Georgia blueberry farmers regroup after storm destroys crops

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BACON CO., GA (WTOC) -

Blueberry growers across the southern part of Georgia are assessing the damage from storms that rolled in Saturday.

One of the biggest suppliers in Bacon County says as he walked his fields Monday, he couldn't believe that so much damage was done in so little time.

"Most of my life, I've been in the blueberry business, since I was a kid or involved in it and I've never seen this in a blueberry crop," said Steven Mullis of L&S Mullis Farms.

He says there are 700,000 pounds of fruit on the ground that can't be sold. 

"It could be less than 20 percent of a crop left when it's all said and done," said Mullis.

And before it's done, the damage will have a ripple effect for workers who harvest the crop. Fewer berries to pick means less time on the clock.

Mullis has frost irrigated 27 times this season.

"They're weather sensitive to the cold and severe weather events like this. It's a delicate crop to start with or people wouldn't like them so much"

Mullis says he has insurance but it's a crutch.

"At this point you always look back and say I wish I could take the most coverage I could possibly take but it's really expensive and you have to make those decisions well before the season starts"

He is now looking forward to the tail end of the harvest, when his smaller berry bushes called Rabbit Eye ripen and possibly help save his bottom line.

Word spread fast through the $4 million a week industry. Pearson, Georgia blueberry growers, are reporting a 100% crop loss from the storms.

Mullis says it's too soon to tell if prices in the supermarket will be affected.

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