Cambridge University Press recently invited me to write for their blog, Fifteen eighty-four. Here’s how it starts:
One of the things that surprised me as I conducted research for The Georgia Peach is how unsouthern Georgia peaches are. Don’t get me wrong: Prunus persica has grown in southern soil that southerners sometimes owned, and many southerners have planted and pruned the trees and harvested the fruit. Samuel Henry Rumph, who released the Elberta peach and was one of the larger growers in the region in the late nineteenth century, was a southern boy “to the manor born” as his contemporaries liked to point out.
But the creation of the Georgia peach as a commercial crop and a cultural icon depended upon economic and cultural connections beyond the South, in at least three ways.