Peaches, yesteryear & today

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Peaches, yesteryear & today

Peaches, Yesteryear & Today

I started working in the peach packing house at age five. (Pic above proves it!) We used to pack peaches for supermarkets. There were five orchards on this side of route 83; now only 2 remain.

The market was different. We’d send the truck to each farm to fill up as many pallets as each could, then the full truck would go directly to each grocery store and unload the orders.

Now, in the age of Wal-mart, Kroger, Wegmans, and ShopRite, no single farm is big enough to load an entire truck, so large packing houses gather peaches in bulk to pack for the big grocers. There’s a disconnect from the farm to the store with a distribution system in-between.

Don’t get me wrong; the American food system is vast, awe-inspiring, and ultra-safe. Farmers feed millions more people in America and around the world, so nothing is wrong – just different.

At our farm size, you may know that we went the opposite direction. Instead of trying to get massive, my parents decided to go direct to our guests, to you, by opening our doors to pick-your-own.

Still, at farm conventions, many farmers can’t imagine why we’d “Let people run around in the orchards,” but I just smile back at them. They have a mindset that guests can’t be trusted in the orchard or will drop fruit or eat too much while picking, but that just hasn’t been our experience.

We had a crazy Sunday with all y’all picking peaches, white nectarines, yellow nectarines, and blueberries. Miss Dee & the girls were hustling, scooping ice cream, and the winery was hopping with tastings.

You treat us like part of your family, and we appreciate your care for the farm while you are here. That’s a wonderful relationship that has grown from years of pick-your-own peaches.

Though it would have been hard to foresee the future as we were running our own peach packing house, I sure am glad my parents made the move to welcome guests directly into our orchards.

In a way, that experience shaped me from a young age into someone who seeks out that direct connection with our guests.

There’s another great weekend coming up, and I hope you’ll join us. More nectarines, the NEW Gala Peaches are ripening, and the Jade White nectarines continue to produce ruby red fruit.

Want to know where you fruit is coming from? Pick it from right from the tree.

See you soon on the farm,

(Now slightly older) Farmer Hugh