South Carolina is the #2 peach producer in the United States - second only to California. Although Georgia is "The Peach State", we claim that we are "The Tastier Peach State". Currently, South Carolina is producing about double the quantity of peaches that the state of Georgia is.
Commercial peach production in South Carolina has been going on for over 150 years. For many farm families, it's the second, third, fourth and even fifth generation operation. Currently, the South Carolina peach industry is valued at over $60 million per year. We employ well over 1000 people during the growing season.
My name is Desmond Layne and I'm the Clemson University peach specialist. We're out here at the Musser Fruit Research Farm in Seneca, South Carolina, where we do research to support the peach industry. Here at our research farm we have more than 350 different types of peaches. We evaluate them to determine which ones will perform the very best for the South Carolina peach grower. They typically will have 20 to 30 different varieties that they will grow but every year they are interested in what's new or what might be better than they are growing currently. We do the research so that we can make the recommendations for them for what will be reliable and profitable for their operation.
The peach growers of South Carolina are really fortunate because Clemson University continues to make investments in its "Peach Team". In our peach team, we have basic scientists, we have applied research scientists, we have specialists and county extension agents all who work together to help solve the problems of the peach industry. As we work together, we are trying to ensure that South Carolinians will have excellent, high quality fruit to eat that will also be profitable for our peach industry.
I often get questions from the public on how to pick the right peach or where can I buy peaches or how can I use them for all different kinds of things from cobbler to ice cream to canning them? Well, we created a website called "Everything About Peaches" and you can easily get there by going to http://www.clemson.edu/peach. You'll find all kinds of information about peaches including educational videos, articles to read, frequently asked questions. It's basically a "one-stop-shop" for information about peaches.