Monday, October 6, 2014

South Carolina, a Peach of a State

South Carolina-grown Big Reds.
The Good Girls couldn't leave the Old 69 District of South Carolina without a word about peaches.

From beginnings near the city of Xian, China, where peaches were cultivated at least 3,000 years ago, the luscious fruit was spread o Russia and Persia. Alexander the Great and his armies bartered for them and spread the peach to Greece and from there to Europe. The Spanish brought peaches to the New World and today they are grown in 64 countries. Especially the Old 69 District of South Carolina.

Discovered there in the late 1600s, peaches became a major crop in the 1900s. During the mid-May to Labor Day season, weather permitting, 200-plus million pounds are harvested, more than in any other state except California. Yes, even more than in the "peach state" of Georgia. On the 5,100 acres of Titan Farms, the area's largest grower, more than 56 varieties are grown.

Carolina peaches ready for market.
We could not have been more delighted when honorary Good Girl Vicki Loughner brought us each a basket of Big Reds, one of the 70 different varieties grown here.

Timing wasn't good for what is considered a very perishable fruit; we had two more nights in the area plus another three in the Olde English district and a day's drive home.

 We needn't have worried. Treated right, truly fresh peaches are pretty hardy. Upon checking out of the Greenwood Fairfield Inn & Suites, we carefully placed our baskets in the car's back seat and floorboard, covering them with a windshield sun deflector. After checking into the Rock Hill Marriott Courtyard, we transferred them to a spot closest to the air conditioner in our rooms, repeating the process when we checked out and headed for home.

It worked. All peaches arrived deliciously edible. I managed to make a cobbler, a pie, have peaches on cereal every morning and put up fthree pint bags of perfect peaches just before going out of town nine days later. Debi's experience was similar.

Peaches on the tree in South Carolina.
Our advice, buy peaches from 300 miles away instead of 2,000 (South Carolina peaches can be bought on line). Keep them cool then allow to return to room temperature the night before you plan to use them.


The big peach we passed on the road.

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