Fruit Chaos Is Coming

Fruit Chaos Is Coming

Climate change is threatening to turn sublime summer stone fruits disgusting, or rob us of their pleasures entirely.

Summer, to me, is all about stone fruit: dark-purple plums, peaches you can smell from three feet away. But last summer, I struggled to find peaches at the farmers’ markets in New York City. A freak deep freeze in February had taken them out across New York State and other parts of the Northeast, buds shriveling on the branch as temperatures plummeted below zero and a brutally cold, dry wind swept through the region.

The loss was severe. One farmer estimated that the Hudson Valley lost 90 percent of its stone fruit. Evan Lentz, a faculty member in the plant-science department at the University of Connecticut, told me his state lost 50 to 75 percent. Another freeze in the second half of May damaged lots of other crops, including strawberries and blueberries.

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