It's summertime, when hundreds of South Carolina consumers get to enjoy a pleasant outing by shopping at one of the state's farmers markets, including the new State Farmers Market in Columbia. For their efforts consumers also get the pleasures of mouth-watering delights while helping celebrate local farmers and the local economy. The current star of the season is one of South Carolina's top farm products –juicy, luscious peaches!
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture notes that peaches ripened early this spring and those sweet peaches are currently adding excitement to farmers markets all over South Carolina --"The Tastier Peach State." SCDA points out that the fruit is be smaller this year because of the drought, but the flavor is more intense because the sugar content is more concentrated.
Proper handling of Certified SC Grown peaches is the key to their flavor, notes SCDA spokespersons. They suggest that peaches are temperature sensitive and advise consumers to keep them on a counter top at room temperature. When purchasing peaches look for a fragrant aroma, and no green around the stem.
It is currently the middle of peach season, but Certified South Carolina Grown Peaches will be available throughout the state all summer. July 14 is S.C. Peach Market Day at Columbia's State Farmers Market. The Department of Agriculture will be handing out one free peach to every visitor during that day.
SCDA also notes that online shoppers can identify local roadside markets that sell SC Certified Peaches at www.certifiedscgrown.com.
The SCDA keeps a web page for the South Carolina Peach Council here.
Consumers can also follow the South Carolina Peach Council on social media. Visit Facebook: facebook.com/SCPeachCouncil and Twitter: @SCPeachCouncil
Over 200 million pounds of South Carolina peaches are harvested during an average year, with a value of $35 million. However, SCDA notes that in the last few years the value has been down to between $20-$30 million because of droughts and other weather conditions.