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“P” is for Palmetto Pigeon Plant

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The Palmetto Pigeon Plant was founded in 1923 by Wendell M. Levi and Harold Moïse. The original breeding stock came from pigeons that Levi had raised for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I. The plant soon became America’s largest squab producer and the sole supplier of pigeons in medical and dietary research. Squabs—young pigeons that have not yet flown—are considered haute cuisine in many parts of the world. Besides squabs, the Sumter plant also raised and processed poussins (young chickens) and quail, and bought partridges, rabbits, and additional squabs from growers around the state. By 2020 it was a six million dollar business. In the twenty-first century consumers worldwide could purchase poussins and squabs produced at the Palmetto Pigeon Plant through D’Artagnan Foods.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.