We appreciate the opportunity to share the rich tradition of our family business, which has been operated through four generations from 1918 to the present.
Jerrold A. Watson & Sons, using the brand name WATSONIA, has thrived through difficult and prosperous times. The farm is presently owned and operated by brothers Jerry and Joe Watson, and Joe's son, Jeph.
We are proud to say that we enjoy the reputation of being forerunners in the industry, using cutting-edge agricultural practices such as trickle irrigation, plastic mulch for vegetable growing, computer technology, IPM (integrated pest management), and consumer product safety programs. We have a strong working relationship with the horticulturists at Clemson University, who use our farm for researching innovative practices as well as varietal test blocks. Watsonia has earned GAP and GHP Food Safety Certifications through USDA and Primus, and also Organic Certification from the Clemson University Department of Plant Industry and USDA National Organic Program. We are currently growing organic yellow and white peaches; yellow, zucchini and winter squash; pickling and slicer cucumbers; bell peppers; asparagus; eggplant; slicer and grape tomatoes; sweet potatoes; collards; strawberries; plums; persimmons; nectarines and muscadines.
The first major crop grown on our farm was asparagus, with our grandfather and great-grand-father, Joe H. Watson, serving as the manager of the Monetta Asparagus Association. He led the industry by planting the first asparagus in Monetta, South Carolina - afterwards considered the asparagus capital of the world. Around 1925, he gathered five leading farmers of the area and asked them to plant 60 acres of peaches each. This was the start of the commercial peach industry on the "Ridge" section of South Carolina.
Joe H. Watson died in 1939, and his wife Mary, operated the farm until her son, Jerrold, returned in 1945 after World War II. He successfully operated the farm for over 50 years. Jerrold's older son, Jerrold, Jr. (Jerry), returned in 1973 after graduating from college. Joe H. II returned in 1975 after college, and his son, Joseph III (Jeph), joined the business after college in 2003 to become the fourth generation family member. Since its inception, our farm has become diversified, successfully growing 550 acres of apples, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, pears, plums, nectarines and strawberries. Peaches remain our main crop, with over 900 acres currently in production.
We feel very proud to have maintained a reputation of quality produce and productive business connections through the years, and we look forward to many more years of providing the safest, freshest and tastiest fruits and vegetables we can offer to our customers.