Peach Packers of South Carolina
Our growers and packers make our state’s peaches greater than any other.
Packaging and marketing are the most interesting evolution in the peach industry. Peaches were first sold for local trade. Railway expansion enabled shipment of peach crates along the eastern seaboard. At this time, peaches were graded by hand out in the field and harvested by workers riding wagons pulled by mules.
Henry William Ravenel of Aiken is credited as the first reported commercial shipper in 1859, and Colonel R.B. Watson, South Carolina’s first Commissioner of Agriculture, is credited as the first commercial peach producer to ship peaches out-of-the-state in 1870s.
As peach transport grew and developed through the early Twentieth Century, express shipments in barrels, a crude form of the six-gallon Georgia container, became common. Packers also began de-fuzzing the peach based on consumer demand.
In the late 1940s, more changes in packaging contributed to changes in marketing and distribution. Peaches previously marketed by consignment were now sold Freight On Board.
Today, South Carolina has approximately 10 commercial peach packing sheds. Each packing shed requires about 100 to 150 people to pack and ship peaches. That is at least 1,000 people in the community directly dependent on packing peaches. As in the past, South Carolina has numerous farmers in the direct market basket trade. These are spread throughout the state and also employ numerous farm workers and salesmen in rural areas.