Despite Its Nickname, Georgia Doesn't Produce The Most Peaches

Thanks to its "Peach State" alias, Georgia has become synonymous with its signature summer fruit. Georgia peaches are staples on southern menus, local farm stands, and even the radio.

The association between the Peach State and its muse is the product of both history and harvest. The association between the state and its stereotypical fruit stretches back to the 1850s when Georgia first began marketing the peach industry as an alternative to cotton.

While peach production has since evolved from the controversial, disgraceful origins of slavery, per NPR, peaches have made a lasting impact as the state fruit of Georgia. According to a 2021 survey, Georgia yielded roughly 35.3 thousand tons of America's 688 thousand tons of peaches. Think of all the meals those peaches could make. Cobbler, anyone?

Georgia's nickname isn't a misnomer, but this known peach headquarters isn't the frontrunner in America's peach production — nor is it the silver medalist. Those 35.3 thousand tons of peaches leave the "Peach State" in bronze medal position, with two other sunny states edging ahead.

Two sunny states ripe with peaches.

In California, peaches are as good as gold. According to that same 2021 agricultural survey, the Golden State produced about two-thirds of America's peaches last year alone. That amounts to about 505 thousand tons of the summery fruit. According to Greenville News, California has been spearheading the country's peach production since 1984.

Given the state's western climate, this statistic shouldn't be surprising. California's soil quality and warm weather are optimal for peach growth via The California Farm Land Trust.

Similarly sunny and fertile, South Carolina trails behind California. The southern state produced 87.4 thousand tons of peaches in 2021. Such a yield leaves Georgia as America's third-largest peach producer. In 2019, the Peach State fell behind the Garden State; the U.S. Department of Agriculture cites New Jersey and Georgia, California, and South Carolina, as the country's four leading peach producers. Pennsylvania, however, is not to be discounted. In last year's survey, Pennsylvania produced more peaches than New Jersey.

So whether you get your peaches out west, down south, or up north, finding one worth tasting won't be an issue. The only decision you'll have to make is whether to enjoy yours grilled, in a smoothie, or straight from the farm.