South Carolina: “The Tastier Peach State”

South Carolina peaches on the tree.
Photo evidence of “The Tastier Peach State” | Photo via @macgregororchard

In honor of peach season in the Upstate, we’re taking a look at a battle that pits one state against another: Georgia, “The Peach State” vs. South Carolina, “The Tastier Peach State,” which is the nickname Clemson’s official “peach expert” gave SC over a decade ago.

Let’s take a look, battle by battle, at why we think SC peaches come out on top in this so-called Peach War.”

Battle One | The Numbers

South Carolina

  • Production: 87,400 tons
  • Harvested acres: 16,000
  • Yield: 5.46 tons per acre

Georgia

  • Production: 35,300 tons
  • Harvested acres: 8,200
  • Yield: 4.3 tons per acre

Winner: South Carolina — we’re the largest peach producer east of the Mississippi.

Battle Two | The History

  • Mid-1700s: The Cherokee Nation grew peaches in this region.
  • Late 1850s: Commercial shipping out of the region began. 
  • 1935: There were 233 packing houses and three million+ peach trees in Spartanburg County alone.
  • 1984: South Carolina adopted the peach as its state fruit.
  • 1995: Georgia adopted the peach as its state fruit.

Winner: South Carolina — we declared the peach as our state fruit first. Checkmate.

Battle Three | The Taste

“South Carolina stakes claim to the sweetest, juiciest peaches in the Southeast.” — The South Carolina Field Office of the USDA

“The larger South Carolina peach was plump and drippy when I bit into the flesh. The floral aroma tickled my tongue and I tasted hints of nectar and honey. The Georgia peach had a less pronounced flavor and was less juicy.” — Alexa Lampasona of the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Winner: South Carolina — okay, we’ll admit it. We chose quotes that support our argument.

Fresh peaches on the tree at MacGregor Orchard in travelers Rest
We’re ready to sink our teeth in MacGregor Orchard’s Peaches | Photo via @macgregororchard

Where to get your farm fresh, local peaches

*Can be found at TD Saturday Market, ^ Can be found at the Travelers Rest Farmers Market