The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Peach Farmer

Peach Farmer

From the Farmer's Tractor

July 24, 2011

Jason Rodgers, 34, is a peach farmer in Ridge Spring, South Carolina. His Titan Peach Farms raises about 4,000 acres of peaches; an additional 500 acres is used to grow bell peppers and broccoli. A first generation peach farmer, Rodgers has been farming for 16 years.

How did you get into peach farming?

I grew up in an area where many peaches were grown. Having a strong interest in science and seeing things grow had a lot to do with me becoming a farmer. I think feeding our fellow man is one of the most satisfying occupations you can have. I am also married and have a five year old daughter. It is a joy to raise her on the farm so that she will understand where our food comes from.

How have your farming practices changed over the last 10 years?

Innovative technology has allowed my farm to be more efficient with our resources. Our computerized irrigation system allows us to irrigate more land in less time and requires less labor to operate the system. Resource management is a key element to operating a successful farm.

How will peach farming evolve in the next five years?

Immigration is a topic of uncertainly for us now. Having a dependable labor force is crucial for us to continue farming.

What is your greatest challenge as a peach farmer?

My greatest challenge is labor. The process of growing peaches is very labor intensive. From pruning, thinning, and harvesting of the fruit, it’s all done by hand.

How does a farmer know what a retailer will want a year from now?   

As in any business we must listen to our consumers. Consumers are always looking for convenience, and we must stay innovative in offering them new products.

What steps are you taking toward conservation on the farm?

We do a lot of control erosion on the farm as well as controlling our natural resources. I plant food plants for many species of animals that live in our areas. Conservation of water is also a daily part of our process.

Do you sell any of your products locally, and if so, what is the process?

We do sell some of our product locally. We have a roadside fruit stand that caters to the needs of our neighbors.

What kinds of reactions do you get from consumers when they meet you in person?

Most people are very excited when they meet a farmer. I give a lot of farm tours, and the people are eager to learn how we grow peaches and how we live on the farm.