Peaches: Georgia vs. South Carolina

bowl of peaches - compressedShortly after moving to Georgia just over six years ago I was surprised to hear someone say “Georgia’s known as the peach state but South Carolina peaches taste better!”

Really? I probably wouldn’t have been as surprised if they had been spoken by a South Carolinian but the fact that it was a native born Georgian making the comment seemed to add a bit of intrigue. That summer, when I bit into a juicy ripe peach from South Carolina and felt the juice dribbling down my chin I knew what they were talking about! Now to be honest, I have had absolutely amazing peaches from Pearson Farm in Fort Valley, GA as well. But, I must admit that the majority of the peaches that have left me swooning over the past few years have been those coming from South Carolina. Here in the Savannah area I will only buy peaches from Jerry Polk or his sister Becky Bashlor Polk who grew up in the produce business here in Savannah with their father who used to run a produce stand in the old City Market building. When I asked Jerry why he thought peaches from SC were so often flavorful he thought it could be due to the upland topography of SC which keeps the trees from sitting in as much water as the clay soil of Georgia. This would be very similar to the situation of grapes which often produce better flavor when they have to struggle versus those in rich soil which don’t produce as much flavor.

Whatever the case, the debate of Georgia vs. South Carolina peaches is one which is going strong. Recently Kim Severson , the Atlanta bureau chief for the New York Times recently wrote an article highlighting the War Between the Tastes.

Peaches & Basil - compressed

Whatever the case, I have to say that I’ve been eating myself into peach oblivion this summer! I recently took a short weekend jaunt up to the mountains of North Carolina and on the way back stopped in Spartanburg, SC to pick up a big basket of fragrant peaches. I’ve been trying, testing and creating recipes ranging from Basil Peach Jam to Puffy Peach Pancakes, Buttermilk Peach Pie and Sour Cream Peach Muffins. Of course one of the best ways is to simply enjoy them fresh! There’s nothing quite like the aroma of fresh peaches on your countertop!

As for that debate as to who produces the best peaches? As far as I’m concerned who cares..as long it’s ripe and flavorful, that’s the peach for me!

Peach Basil Jam Photo - compressed

 

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