Lawton Pearson grows more than 30 peach varieties in his Georgia orchard. Among them is a special new cultivar, the Liberty Joy peach, designed to thrive in the warmer temperatures climate change brings. All over the South, climate change is altering growing conditions—bringing higher temperatures, less water, and unpredictable seasonal cycles. If farmers in the region want to keep growing food, they may have to adjust what and how they grow. Scientists are starting to develop cultivars of familiar foods that will be able to better handle the new climate, like the Liberty Joy.

But can scientists keep up with climate change?

A picker on the Pearson peach farm loads a satchel with Flameprince peaches. The peaches are a late-season variety the farm relies on, but it doesn’t fruit after warm winters. Photo by Cassie Miller.

Irina Zhorov reported and produced this episode of Gravy.

Thank you to Blue Dot Sessions for the music used to score this episode. Tracks include:
“Lemon and Melon”—Onesuch Village
“Alchemical”—Dorica
“Heather”—Migration
“Gondola Blue”—Towboat
“Silk and Silver”—Bedtime Jam
“Trois Gnossiennes”—The Nocturne

Top photo:  Lawton Pearson grows more than 30 peach varieties in his orchard in Georgia but he’s always looking for new varieties to meet market demands and perform in changing weather patterns. Photo by Irina Zhorov.