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Enjoy the harvest of Charleston

42131605 – female stall holder at farmers fresh food market

South Carolina is blessed with a long growing season and a bountiful variety of fruits and vegetables. Spring vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, greens and cabbage are ready for eating as early as April and apples can be found growing all the way through November! In fact, if you’ve ever wondered about the timing for when certain fruits and vegetables are in season in South Carolina, here is a perfect way to help you catch all of that delicious produce at is freshest. Farmers’ markets abound, particularly in Charleston. In addition to fresh seasonal produce and honey, you will find handmade wares such as jewelry, soap, home decor and clothing. The market is the perfect place for a visitor to get a feel for the southern hospitality of the Lowcountry as well as to enjoy delicious produce and food from local restaurants and artisans.

Additionally, South Carolina boasts a variety of harvest festivals throughout the growing season. There are a few festivals left on the calendar in the winding down stages of the growing season. If you happen to be in the area, they are worth the stop!

Sweet Potato Festival – Held in Darlington on Oc. 12, admission is free and there are a variety of activities such as food, live entertainment, children’s games, and crafts. You will certainly find sweet potato pie and other delicacies (sweet potato ice cream, anyone?) made in homage to the well-loved sweet-flavored orange tuber.

Habersham Harvest Festival – In the Lowcountry of Beaufort, events extend for two days from Oct. 19 – 20. This quaint southern town offers up the best with family-friendly activities, local fare and food as well as hand-crated items for sale. There is even a petting zoo and vintage rides. Entry is free!

While South Carolina is known for our peaches (it is our state fruit and we grow over 30 varieties of this mouth watering delicacy), the season for fresh peaches is tapering off. You can still find ripe peaches through early autumn, but the real star of the fall show is the apple! Apple trees can be grown in any part of the the state, but the good soil and cooler climate of the Upstate area provides better growing conditions for the apple. The humidity and higher temperatures of the coastal areas can pose a challenge for effectively growing apple trees, but experienced farmers still make it happen!

You will see the following varieties of apples beginning in September and extending through October. You’ll notice the ever popular Honeycrisp apple didn’t make the list. This variety in particular craves the climate of northern states, not the warmer, humid climate of the south. A Pink Lady apple is a delicious substitute!

Golden Delicious – Mellow and sweet, this fruit is delicious for eating as well as being paired with a more tart apple, such as Granny Smith, for apple pie or crisp.

Stayman – An old American variety, this apple showed up in the 1800s by Joseph Stayman from Kansas. Described as tart and spicy, they are great desert apples, but this juicy, firm apple is also good for eating.

Granny Smith – A household name, Granny Smith is common in many areas and known for the tart flavor and firm, crisp flesh. Discovered by a “Granny Anne Smith” from Ryde, New South Wales is available year round.

Mutsu – A cross between the Golden Delicious and a popular variety of apple grown in Japan, the Mutsu apple is fairly new on the apple scene, coming around in the mid 1900s. Sweet and sharp with juicy flesh, they are great for a variety of purposes.

Fuji – Named after the famous Mt. Fuji of Japan, this tasty, sweet, firm apple’s popularity has been on the rise since it surfaced in the mid 1900s.

Cameo – Popular and known as a snacking apple, this variety has only been around for about 30 years! Hailing from Washington, it has a bright, citrusy flavor.

Rome – Known as a cooking apple because of its distinctive tart flavor and firm flesh, this multi-purpose, older American apple originated near Rome, Ohio in the early 19th century.

Winesnap – An American heirloom variety, that can trace its line back to even colonial American times, this apple variety is sweet and tangy with a beautiful red skin. The apple can be used for many purposes, but is especially well loved in cider.

Pink Lady – Similar in taste to Honeycrip, the characteristic rosy pink skin of this apple is lovely. Cultivated in the 1970s in Australia, it is a sweet, tart apple with bright white flesh that can be used in a variety of ways, but is simple delicious eaten fresh.

Arkansas Black – Beautiful and unique, this older American variety from Arkansas does indeed have a darker colored skin almost a deep purple that darkens with storage, almost becoming black. It’s aromatic and sweet-tart flavor also mellows with storage. This is a variety you don’t want to miss!

Enjoy the fall in our beautiful state and don’t forget to stop by and see us. You’ll love our authentic culinary tours that will be a memorable part of your trip to Charleston.

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