Jun 2, 2011
Website knows everything about peaches

Desmond Layne, an Extension fruit specialist with Clemson University in South Carolina, wanted to create a one-stop-shop for peach lovers, a website that commercial growers, backyard gardeners and consumers could visit to learn everything they needed to know about the fruit.

He seems to have succeeded. The website, called Everything About Peaches, was launched in July 2010. As of late April, it had tallied more than 18,000 visits from 76 countries, Layne said.

Layne created the website as part of his duties as Clemson University’s peach specialist. He worked with a web development team from the university, which helped him with design and formatting. Now that the site is up and running, Layne provides the content and the web team helps him put it up – and makes it look good, he said.

The information on the site is broken into three sections: one for commercial growers, one for backyard growers and one for consumers. Commercial growers are the primary audience, but much of the information is universal, Layne said.

There are several educational videos on the site, along with fact sheets, frequently asked questions, recipes, photos, links – anybody in the world can find helpful information, even if their climate is different than South Carolina’s. No matter where they live, there are certain things all peach growers have to deal with, things like frost, hail, nutrition and thinning, he said.

Layne has gotten solid feedback from the site’s visitors. Some of it has been downright interesting. A government consultant in Afghanistan, who’s helping local farmers learn to grow peaches, wanted to know if one of the videos on the site could be translated into an Afghani language. Layne is still following up on that request. Another enquirer, who’s writing a historical novel, wanted to know the cost of a bushel of peaches in New York City in 1950.

“Everything About Peaches” recently won the Blue Ribbon Extension Communications Award from the Southern Region of the American Society for Horticultural Science. It was “pretty cool” to get that kind of peer recognition, he said.

Layne plans to add lots of new content to the site this summer. Visit www.clemson.edu/extension/peach to see more, or Google “peach.” “Everything About Peaches” typically comes up fifth in a web search, he said.

By Matt Milkovich

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