Commissioner Hugh Weathers: Spring in South Carolina

Could there be any better reason to live in South Carolina than spring? Commissioner Weathers is here to tell us why he enjoys Spring and how much it means to South Carolina farmers in 2018.

  • About this time every year, I’m reminded that like most farmers, I’m an eternal optimist.
  • Most farmers would tell you they’re in a better place this spring than last because of much better weather. I spoke with one farmer recently who said that thanks to the plentiful rainfall, his cover crops are taller than he is
  • After two seasons of climatic events that lashed out at the state’s peach crop, South Carolina peach producers and researchers believe this season is going to be better
  • A total of 12,500 tons were reported for 2017 and the average for 2016 was 52,800 tons of peaches
  • Several South Carolina produce farmers have told me that 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for their crops. As you’ve probably heard, our peach farmers are expecting a strong crop this year
  • A welcomed change after the unexpected freeze last March that devastated our peach crop
  • Further, most blueberry growers I spoke with, after the Spring 2017 freeze, said they lost somewhere between 34% and 50% of their crop
  • As with the peach crop, the outlook for the blueberry industry for 2018 is looking bright
  • Spreading the good news of locally grown produce and products is one of the great pleasures of serving as your Commissioner of Agriculture.
  • We’re always looking for new ways to tell the story of Certified SC Grown, and recently we’ve added three new social media channels for Fresh on the Menu – the Certified program that recognizes restaurants in South Carolina whose menus include at least 25% local ingredients.
  • Nearly 400 restaurants throughout the state are part of the Fresh on the Menu program, and we’re adding to that list.
  • Are you on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram? Follow Fresh on the Menu and check out new videos, photos and recipes featuring farmers, restaurants, and delicious food that could only be from South Carolina.
  • Not all of us are tech-savvy enough to follow Fresh on the Menu and Certified SC on social media, but I’m sure we can all agree that supporting farmers, markets, and restaurants that grow, sell and serve local food is particularly enjoyable this time of year.