Peach Perfect: How to Pit-ify Your Life in Just One Bite
by Stefanie Michaels
Undeniably nature’s candy, California is the nation’s top producer of peaches – 95% of the nation’s canning peaches and nearly half of the fresh ones you find in the produce section of your favorite market.
In fact, most of them are harvested just a few hours up I-5 from here from April through October. I can almost smell them if I close my eyes. Can’t you?
Southerners can also relate. Even though Georgia is considered The Peach State, South Carolina holds that second top producer title. As the Palmetto State’s peak season nears, the Old 96 District along the Georgian border is where most of them drip from the trees come summertime.
As Californian wines rely on terroir, Lori Anne Carr of Titan Farms says, “We are lucky to count on the rich, acidic soils and warm, humid nights native to South Carolina, which provide the perfect environment for our tastier South Carolina-grown peaches!
Peach stands spanning the five counties of South Carolina’s Old 96 District are a thing in this rural haven during summer. Grab a few and head out on the area’s numerous hiking trails or lakes. Or hit a path of a different kind.
The South Carolina BBQ Trail features the four basic barbecue sauces (mustard, vinegar, light tomato, and heavy tomato) and is the only state in the nation to do so. You can bet there will be peach pie on some of those joints’ menus.
Still, peaches aren’t the only draw. This area reaches 96 miles down the Cherokee Path from Keowee, a major Cherokee town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is most likely how the Old 96 District’s name. It’s where the Siege of the Ninety-Six happened – the South’s first land battle of the Revolutionary War. From the numerous historical sites to the Abbeville Opera House built in 1904, history buffs will love it here.
The area isn’t lacking in arts and culture if the opera house is any indication. Explore the legacy of Edgefield pottery as showcased by The Smithsonian or the tribal grounds of the Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation of South Carolina.
And, due to the area’s proximity to Augusta’s Masters Tournament happening in April, golfers will find themselves at home on one of the ten professional courses.
If you go, there are several ways to stay. From a host of beautiful Bed and Breakfasts and Inns to the pet-friendly Hickory Knob State Park Resort featuring a wooded lake shoreline, golf resort, and remote state park, the Old 96 District of South Carolina is a place to unwind.
Not everything in life turns up peaches and cream. But this is one trip that will leave you feeling extra peachy.
Did you know?
There is a Peachoid water tower in Gaffney, South Carolina, that is shaped like the fruit. The tower, which stands 135 feet tall, was built in 1981 and has become a famous landmark in the area. It inspired the fictional “Peachoid” in “House of Cards.”
A little history:
The history of this fruit’s production in South Carolina dates back to the late 1800s when farmers in the upstate region began planting peach orchards. By the early 1900s, its production had become a significant industry in the state, and South Carolina earned the nickname “The Peach State.”
In the 1920s, harsh winters and disease outbreaks devastated many of the state’s orchards, causing a decline in production. Despite these setbacks, South Carolina’s peach industry rebounded in the 1930s and 1940s thanks to new varieties that were more resistant to cold temperatures and disease.
These days, South Carolina remains one of the top producing states in the country, with the majority of its orchards located in the upstate region.