Carrots, peas, cucumbers, and kale have a rich history on Savannah Highway. Driving from John’s Island to West Ashley, you may have noticed the large buildings and greenhouses on either side of US-17.
They make up the USDA Vegetable Lab and Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Center, dating back nearly 100 years.
Dr. Brian Ward has spent more than half his life working at the site. “When other industries had failed around the turn of the century, we decided to open a vegetable research facility to support the transitioning growers here in South Carolina,” he explained.
The creation of the facility took an Act of Congress in 1935, an effort to help a farming industry that was struggling during the Great Depression. It called for the creation of nine research laboratories across the United States, and the very first one was built in Charleston County.
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