McLeod Farms in rural McBee has been a family-owned business since 1916. While pink peach blossoms make for a spectacular scene, the farm harvests much more than the state fruit. People start filling their baskets with fresh strawberries in the early spring, continue with peaches, blackberries, and other delectable fruits and vegetables throughout the summer, and enjoy delicious squashes in the fall.
The farm employs about 40 people year-round to work the 650 acres of peach trees and hires around 200 people during peach season, which runs from May until August. The McLeods use modern technology to ensure a healthy harvest each season, utilizing wind machines to prevent freezing and hail cannons to create sonic booms, which deflect hail. In its fourth generation of being operated by McLeods, the family farm celebrates its harvests with three festivals a year. The Strawberry Festival is held each May, while July is reserved for the Peach Festival. Each autumn a Fall Festival invites the community out for a host of activities including games, wagon rides, and live entertainment.
Reflections on McLeod Farms
Joshua Thomas, who took the beautiful photo above, shares a family story about McLeod Farms: “Growing up, one of my favorite pastimes has been visiting my grandparents in Hartsville and riding in my grandfather’s 1931 Ford Model A up to McLeod Farms. Now, myself at 20 and my grandfather at 80 years of age, I do most of the driving. On a nice day in March, we decided to get the car out and stretch its legs a bit. Although we initially planned to drive around the block, we ultimately wound up riding through the beautiful blossoms of the peach trees. I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a quick snapshot. This picture turned out way better than I originally planned and I just had to share it!”
Contributor Eppie Adams of Manning also shares her wonderful memories of the peaches from McLeod Farms: “Mr. Campbell McLeod was one of my patients back in the ’80s. One of the most wonderful men I ever had the privilege of meeting! My boys were brought up on peach ice cream made by their Pap and Mam in Hartsville every summer made from these peaches! I was practicing dental hygiene back then and can remember driving into work under a cloud of black fog/smut on cold mornings. McLeod’s Farm had the smut pots going to protect the trees. I always tried to plan his spring/ summer appointment to coincide with the peaches! Remember well the peach truck coming to Manning every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during the summer. Mom would make the best pie with these gifts from God!”