Victory isn’t just sweet, it's peachy

By Peter Kent

Woman with peach cobblerVictory is sweet.  In this case, its flavor is peach crème brûlée.

When Clemson hosted the Peach State’s University of Georgia for the first-in-a-decade gridiron meeting in August, South Carolina peaches were the main ingredient in special treats served in Memorial Stadium’s executive suites.

“The idea really blossomed last spring when we worked with Aramark, which has the campus food-service contract, to supply Clemson-grown peaches in dining halls,” said Jeff Hopkins, manager of the university’s Musser Fruit Research Farm.

“We were tossing around ideas and we came up with it: Let’s serve our peaches at the football game,” said Peter Barone, Aramark’s senior food service director at Clemson.

Aramark pastry chef Cicely Austin decided to forego traditional peach pie or cobbler.

“I knew I couldn’t do better than the recipes that are family traditions,” said Austin, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef. “I decided on peach crème brûlée that we chill overnight and top with dollops of whipped cream, fresh peaches and sugar cookie crisps.”

She prepared the caramelized custard dessert from Redhaven peaches grown at the Musser Farm, which enables scientists to produce disease-resistant root stock and to test new varieties of peaches and other fruits.

Redhavens are freestone peaches, golden yellow with a red blush, that grow well in many climates and are a mainstay of the peach industry and a research standard.

Beyond the gridiron, the Clemson-Georgia rivalry reached to the roots of state identity: the peach. Georgia claims the moniker “The Peach State,” but South Carolina grows more than twice as many peaches.

South Carolina farms produced 75,000 tons of peaches on 17,000 acres in 2012, generating $74 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Georgia contributed 33,300 tons from 9,900 acres for a total of $29 million.

Find out more about the Musser Farm: