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Asparagus Production in South Carolina

Asparagus Production in South Carolina

If you are like me, you might know South Carolina as a peach producing state. That wasn't always so. Early in the state's history South Carolina was a major producer of cotton. Textile mills can be found throughout the South, many dating back to pre Civil War days. In the early 1900s cotton production fell, due to low prices and major problems with boll weevils.

Farmers in South Carolina turned to asparagus. The farm land was rich in iodine and South Carolina was a major producer of asparagus from 1910 until the 1930s. Aiken, Edgefield, and Saluda counties make up an area known as the Ridge. Ridge farms were important producers of asparagus. In 1916 Ridge farmers had shipped 44 railroad cars of asparagus north. World War I brought higher food prices and a bigger demand. By 1923 South Carolina was shipping hundreds of carloads of asparagus yearly and was among the top 5 states producing asparagus.

The depression of the 1930s, along with adverse weather, weakened South Carolina's asparagus market and production was absorbed by California and Florida. Peach orchards eventually replaced the fields where asparagus once grew.

The device pictured is an asparagus bundler. Asparagus would be bundled and tied, or trimmed and canned. Our good friend and fellow photographer, Pam Cook, graciously loaned us the asparagus bundler from their farm. The bundler's history dates back to the 1910-1930s asparagus production of their farm. The can pictured sports a label from their farm's participation in South Carolina's asparagus production.

The images were captured on our dining room table. Lighting was provided by a simple LED flashlight. 



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