A summer without peaches sucks, but the Peach State has a lot more going for it

Peaches have the state’s heart, but poultry and pecans are driving Georgia’s economy.

agriculture chart

Olivia Heller

Georgia is known for Martin Luther King Jr., Coca-Cola, college football excellence, and, yes, now presidential mug shots.

But above all, the state is known for peaches.

Until this summer, that is — up to 95% of the Peach State’s crop was uprooted by harsh weather conditions.

  • Not just a Georgia problem, peach pain is everywhere this year, from New England to leading producer California, where yield is also down.
  • Be warned: If you see peaches this summer, the prices aren’t pretty.

Here’s the good news

You wouldn’t know it from strolling through any gift shop in the state, but peaches aren’t even a top-20 farm product in Georgia, responsible for only 0.58% of the state’s agricultural economy, per The Conversation.

Georgia’s chicken industry — the nation’s largest— is worth ~50x as much as its peaches.

  • Poultry and eggs add $28B+ in economic value, fueling a financial powerhouse of a state. (Georgia’s GDP outpaces the likes of Poland, Sweden, and Thailand.)

A bountiful harvest ahead

If the South’s changing climate can’t sustain peach crops in the future, perhaps a change to the “Pecan State” will be in order?

Everywhere you look, pecans are rapidly on the rise, per Food Dive. That’s great news for Georgia.

  • The US leads the world in growing the nut and Georgia is top among states. (It also leads the US in peanut production, BTW)

The pecan’s surging popularity could see supplies double by 2027 — international demand is up and grocery products featuring pecans have increased by 54% over the past decade.

But at the end of the day… only one pecan stat really matters: how people pronounce it. An American Pecan Council poll found 34% say “pea-can,” with 66% in favor of “puh-con.”

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