South Carolina is an agricultural state, and Aiken is a great place for fresh produce. From roadside stands to large, commercial peach farms, Aiken County has it all.
Georgia may be The Peach State, but South Carolina surpassed its neighbor in production of the fruit years ago. The Palmetto State is the largest peach producer east of the Mississippi and the second largest producer in the country, according to The South Carolina Peach Council.
Henry William Ravenel of Aiken is credited the first commercial grower to ship peaches outside of South Carolina in the 1850s. They were often shipped by rail cars insulated with blocks of ice.
Peaches are a staple of summer life in Aiken. Fresh peaches can be bought at roadside stands like Sara's Fresh Market on Columbia Highway and The Peach Pit on Whiskey Road.
Many peach farms in Aiken County and other areas of South Carolina are family-owned businesses whose histories spans across generations. Some local producers include Titan Farms in Ridge Spring, Big Smile/Yonce & Sons in Johnston, and Watsonia Farms in Monetta.
There are many places in Aiken where people can buy a variety of fresh produce. The Thursday Market in The Alley – an extension of the Aiken County Farmers Market – takes place in downtown Aiken every Thursday in June, in which local vendors from Aiken and around the state can sell their wares.
Locally-owned farms and nurseries also provide year-round fresh offering with seasonal foods.
For more information about local produce vendors, visit the Aiken County Farmers Market page on Facebook.