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The two Carolinas learn to work together


The Carolinas make a great power couple when it comes to agriculture. Both states grow sweet potatoes, with North Carolina leading the United States in the root vegetable’s production with an average of 1.7 billion pounds annually.

The Tar Heel State also ranks sixth in the nation for blueberries. Cucumbers and watermelon thrive in both states, and South Carolina is one of the few states with steadily climbing tomato production for the fresh market.

South Carolina has a healthy rivalry with Georgia, too, claiming the state produces more peaches, while Georgia growers say theirs are sweeter and juicier. The South Carolina Agriculture Department responds to such comments with, “Bless your heart.”

Georgia also causes some problems for Chris Rawl, president of Clayton Rawl Farms, Inc. in Lexington, SC, BB #:167998.

“With spring crops, I can’t beat South Georgia and North Florida to market,” he said, “so by the time my produce gets there, the market has fallen off.”

Rawl does, however, have his share of advantages.

He can grow all year, harvest throughout the winter months, and has an abundance of water most of the time. He sells from a stall at the South Carolina Farmers Market in Columbia, and because of recent urbanization, also has the opportunity to sell to many more local markets than in the past.

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full version.