Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer bucketlist: picking peaches!

It started as a single peach orchard during the Great Depression. Today, Fisher’s Orchard includes three locations in Greer: farm stands on South Buncombe Road and on Locust Hill Road, and the orchard on Fisher Road. There is nothing quite like biting into the first, just-picked, juicy peach of the season… especially when you picked it yourself!

Up until the 1960s the Fishers sold most of its peaches to canneries or packed them up to ship by rail to out-of-state markets. Then in 1968 the local cannery’s boiler blew up, and the Fishers ran an ad in the Greenville News for people to come pick their own peaches to avoid the bounty going to waste – and they’ve never looked back. The you-pick has continued to be a big success, and has just opened for the 2018 season!

Reminds me of a certain Upstate SC water tower!

Parking for you-pick is next to the farm stand, and visitors can pick up baskets as well as learn which varieties are currently picking. Early in the season you’ll find mostly clingstone varieties, although by July the semi-freestone and freestone varieties are also ripening; visit the Fishers website for a general guide and to learn the best uses for each variety. Take a look at the pricing before heading out to the orchard and plan how much you’ll pick; the second basket you pick costs less than the first.

If you don’t wish to pick your own, you’ll find plenty of already-picked peaches for sale, as well as jellies, honey, relish and cider. Based on the season you might find nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, as well as local produce including squash, zucchini, peppers, potatoes, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. The jams and jellies are made from family recipes with local produce; we made sure to pick up some peach preserves, made with peaches from the very orchard we picked from.

Today, South Carolina produces the most peaches of any state in the South (SC ships about twice the tons that our neighboring “peach state” of Georgia does!). However, you’ll find many of the big box stores selling peaches and nectarines from California; a shame, when the local ones taste so much better and are so easy to get! The u-pick orchard is about 30 minutes from Greenville, however the farm stands are closer and you can easily swing by while running errands in Greer. We combined our morning stop at Fishers with a couple of Park Hop stops, afterwards heading to the Greenville waterparks for a fun-filled summer day – just make sure to bring a cooler so that your delicious peaches don’t end up sitting in a hot car.

There are about 18,000 acres of peach orchards in South Carolina. While the Gaffney area is better known for their portion of the more than 200 million pounds of peaches harvested in SC every year, we love eating peaches picked from the orchards closest to home – the convenience of not having to drive very far, combined with the novelty of being able to pick our own means we’ll be eating peaches around here this summer nonstop! Now if you’ll please share your favorite recipes, I am thinking bread/muffins or maybe ice cream/smoothies… if there are any left.

Stay up to date with which varieties are picking and other info on the Fishers Orchard facebook page here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I used to think that Georgia had the best peaches --but one year, we tried South Carolina peaches.... YUMMMMMMM..... I can only imagine how good they would be if you can get out and pick them yourselves...



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