Over 200 Years of Farming
The DuBose family has farmed in South Carolina since the early 1900’s and has grown peaches for most of those years. In 1913 our grandfather purchased Cotton Hope Plantation in Monetta, SC and we have continued to add acreage as it became available. Today, the farm is owned and operated by Tristan DuBose and his son Al, who are fourth and fifth generation farmers. The farm is located on the Ridge section of South Carolina which is known for producing some of the highest quality peaches in the country.
Cotton Hope is a diverse farming operation, growing peaches, watermelons, cotton, soybeans, and scuppernongs on approximately 2,500 acres of land with peaches being the main crop. The peach season begins the first week of May and ends the first week of September. The farm employs 20 full time and over 200 season employees. We have a good working relationship with our neighbors and we contribute to the local economy.
A Quality Product
We have approximately 30 varieties of peaches on 1400 acres of land. We use several methods to select which varieties to plant. Past performance, other growers in the area, information from nurseries, university trials, and we have our own experimental plots where we evaluate new varieties. In our area, peach trees have a useful life of 14-15 years and we replace an orchard when its production drops below a certain economic level.
We are proud of the peaches that we produce and we are committed to providing the consumer with high quality fruit. It takes a lot of work to produce quality peaches and we spend all 12 months working in our orchards. The size, appearance, tastes, and shelf life of a peach is determined by the care that the trees receive to keep them healthy and productive and how well the peaches are cared for from the time they bloom, until the day they are picked and shipped to the consumer.
Modern Packing Facility
Cotton Hope has a modern packing facility with all the equipment and qualified personnel necessary to provide the retailers with a final product they will be happy to present to their customers.
We have a strict quality control program to ensure that only the highest quality fruit is shipped to the consumer. We have a full time food safety supervisor who conducts food safety training classes and certifies that each employee adheres to our standards for food safety. We have a yearly Food Safety Audit to officially verify how well all food safety measures are adhered to.
The DuBose family believes in taking care of the land we farm, and uses environmentally friendly farming practices. Our sustainability initiative, simply put, is to meet our farming needs today without compromising the ability of our children and future generations to meet their farming needs. We put a strong emphasis on conservation and preservation of our natural resources. When we plant a new orchard the soil is not tilled again until the orchard is replaced. We irrigate with micro-jets under each tree and we have several hundred acres of sub surface irrigation which eliminates runoff and evaporation and cuts the amount of water we use to a minimum. We use integrated pest management where practical to minimize the use of chemical pesticides. We employ an entomologist to scout our orchards so that pesticides are only applied when needed. We soil test every year and apply only what is needed to keep our soils healthy which minimizes runoff and pollution.
Cotton Hope will always be a family farm concentrating our efforts on quality, rather than quantity. We will continue to modestly increase our acreage with the goal of having a consistent supply of peaches throughout the season without any gaps in production. We will incorporate new ideas and technologies as they become available but we intend to continue our hands on approach to farming.