By: Elizabeth Webber Akre
I’m proud to be a native South Carolinian. There are many, many reasons to love it here. But today, I’m thankful for one my favorites: South Carolina produce. To escape the heat, I rode up to Spartanburg the other day with my daughter, and my mom and dad. My dad is from Spartanburg and considers it to be the peach capitol of the world. You know, South Carolina really is the peach state. For us, it’s not just a slogan, it’s a fact. While Lexington County produces a huge share of South Carolina peaches, we’re just partial to the Spartanburg area ones.
Check out this photo. The peach on the right is a “grocery store” peach. The other one just came off the tree a few days ago. Which one would you want?
I employed this little miracle machine earlier. I actually got two of these as wedding gifts. It’s awesomely fast, there’s no salt involved and there’s no ice melting all over the floor! My homemade peach ice cream is nestled in the freezer, firming up for our decadent special dessert later tonight.
Just a little further up the road in Inman, we have our favorite farm for blueberries. Nearby is another great produce shed run by a family. The blueberries aren’t huge this year because of the lack of rain and the surface-of-the-sun-heat that we’ve had this summer, but they are still beautiful and packed with flavor. Mom and I got a gallon to share. I’ve already used some for a coffee cake. This weekend I’m putting together an overnight blueberry French toast recipe to take to church. Look at all these…and this is just my half. Much better deal than the grocery store.
One of the reasons I turned the corner on raw tomatoes was because the gorgeous color of summer tomatoes was always so enticing to me. I was handed a shrimp salad croissant at Kiawah a few summers ago. It was dressed with the most perfectly red slice to tomato. I was preparing to take it off, as usual, when I decided to act like a grown-up and try it. I’ve been hooked ever since. How did I go so long without “getting” it and enjoying these summertime jewels? Well, I’ve been trying to make up for lost time. These tomatoes from Inman are just luscious. They are sweet like the fruit that they are. So far, we’ve made a picture-perfect Caprese salad, fresh tomato and bacon sandwiches, and have also enjoyed simple sliced tomatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper.
I’m sure you all have many other reasons you love living here too. The Congaree swamp, our beaches, Lake Murray, the Stumphouse tunnel, fresh seafood, The Beacon, steeplechases…the lists are miles and miles long. But, make sure you have our plethora of fresh produce on those lists. We are so lucky to have so much goodness available to us year ‘round. Support our farmers, buy local and eat well!