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South Carolina offers more than just peaches

By
Keith Loria

South Carolina is well-known as a powerhouse for peach production. It consistently ranks as the second largest peach-producing state in the country.

“When you support your local agricultural community, you’re not only investing in the future but providing yourself with nutritious food,” said LauraKate McAllister, executive director of the South Carolina Specialty Crop Growers Association.

Tom Beaver, director of sales and marketing for Sunny Valley International, a Glassboro, NJ-based company that serves as the marketing agent for Dixie Belle Peaches, noted that when it comes to peach production, nothing is better than South Carolina’s unique growing conditions.

“South Carolina has the perfect blend of soil acidity, hot days and mild, humid nights to produce peaches with an exceptional flavor profile,” he said. 

Dixie Belle Peaches is a fourth-generation peach farm, located in Ridge Spring, SC and its 3,000 acres of orchards are stretched over three counties and accounts for more than 30 varieties of peaches.

“Dixie Belle is expecting a full crop this season, with excellent quality and great tasting peaches,” Beaver said. “We expect to be celebrating a great crop of peaches from South Carolina all season long.”

It’s not just peaches that the state produces. After a difficult year, South Carolinians can look forward to the simple pleasures of juicy red strawberries, sweet watermelons, refreshing cucumbers, fresh butter beans, vibrant basil and many other South Carolina crops.

“Our farmers worked hard to sustain us through the pandemic, and in 2021, I hope South Carolinians will show them some love,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “You can support local farmers by choosing Certified South Carolina foods at the grocery store and farmers market and seeking out Fresh on the Menu restaurants.”

In April, crops that were harvested included arugula, asparagus, beets, blueberries, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, collards, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, microgreens, mushrooms, mustard and turnip greens, onions, parsley, peas (sugar/snap), radishes, rutabagas, strawberries, swiss chard and turnips.

Joining those in May will be basil, beans (snap/pole), broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, green garlic, summer squash, sweet corn and zucchini. Then in June, blackberries, cantaloupe, eggplant, okra, peppers, plums, tomatoes and watermelon enter the mix.

“You can never really understand the meaning of ‘fresh’ until you have the opportunity to enjoy vegetables ripened on the vine,” said Ron Robinson, owner of Ron’s Roots Farm in Summerville, SC, and a board member of the South Carolina Specialty Crop Growers Association.

 

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