When Is Peach Season In The South?

When is the best time to enjoy your favorite fuzzy fruit? The debate goes on.

Closeup image of wooden crates filled with ripe peaches
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

It all started with a mention on Facebook in 2016.

The New York Times reported that food writer Kathleen Purvis, who happens to be one of our friends from the South, wrote, "Peaches should never be eaten before the Fourth of July. From there, one has six weeks to fill up."

Upon first glance, this may not seem like an inflammatory remark—but in the South, we have strong feelings about our produce. Seasonality, best times to pick, and harvesting methods are things we think about. They are part of our lifelong education surrounding regional food. And, it goes without saying, we Southerners know our peaches. South Carolina and Georgia produce more peaches than any other state in the South—we even have peach-shaped water towers to prove it. "U-Pick" peach orchards and side-of-the-road peach stands are ubiquitous in the humid heat of Southern summers.

When you decide to eat a peach is up to you, but we hope you'll support Southern farmers and savor one or two—or a basketful—of one our favorite fruits of the season.

Where Do Peaches Come From?

Originally cultivated and later imported from Eastern China, peaches now thrive in the heat of the South and elsewhere throughout the country. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, peach varieties found in the South include 'Belle of Georgia,' a midseason freestone peach, 'Redhaven,' a medium-size peach that produces early in the season, and 'Cresthaven,' a tree that can produce peaches later in the season. All of these peaches differ slightly—some more widely than others—in terms of when in the season they produce their juicy crop.

Peaches and Nectarines
Peaches and Nectarines. Patrizia Savarese/Getty Images

When Is Peach Season in the South?

It's true that Southern peach season varies by state and by peach type. The South is as wide and varied harvest-wise as it is linguistically and culturally. A North Carolina Fourth of July peach might be as delectable as a Georgia peach in June. (In fact, due to the trees and weather, it probably is.)

Because of these variations, the important thing is to do your research. Stop at roadside stands and get to know your state's produce. You'll find out for yourself the best time to gather your harvest and whip up your favorite seasonal dishes.

Georgia Peach Season

There are countless legendary peach stands on the side of Georgia roads. These stands have baskets stacked high all summer, from May to August, filled with peaches ready to eat, cook, and preserve. These peaches are so succulent and sweet that when you dig in, you will probably need a spoon, or at least a napkin. You wouldn't dare miss these peaches before the Fourth of July. Georgians sure don't; they cook their peach recipes all summer, so long as the trees are producing and the peach stands are selling.

Sliced Peach
Robbie Caponetto

South Carolina Peach Season

While Georgia may be known as the Peach State, South Carolina actually harvests three times more peaches per season, leading to its residents dubbing it "The Tastier Peach State."

Find South Carolina peaches from May through August, with the biggest, juiciest batch usually hitting farm stands and grocery stores in July.

Florida Peach Season

Florida's peach season is fleeting, from late March through May, but it's usually the first state to get the summer stone fruit on the market. If you simply cannot wait for that fresh Peach Ice Cream or our smoky Grilled Peach Cobbler, keep your eye out for those early Florida peaches.

North Carolina Peach Season

North Carolina varieties include the Caroline Belle, Biscoe, and Derby peaches. Find these beauties from June through September, with peak season hitting in July.

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