As the Echols family celebrates their 106th year of growing peaches, their local farm is gearing up for its U-Pick Peach Day, where customers can harvest their own fruit.
Jaemor Farms will open up part of its orchard from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 4 for guests to pick two varieties of their peaches. Parties of four can pick a peck of peaches for $18 or a half bushel for $30.
U-Pick Peach Day
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 4
Where: Jaemor Farms, 5340 Cornelia Highway, Alto
How much: $18 per peck; $30 per half bushel; $5 for hayrides
More info: www.jaemorfarms.com/summer-festival
“Peaches have been what the family has done since they started the farm,” said Caroline B. Lewallen, agritourism and marketing coordinator for Jaemor. “The farm isn’t set up to be a daily U-pick farm like some others are around this state, so by hosting one-day events (it) allows us to meet that request from our customer base. It gives folks that chance to pick and see a fuzzy peach while it’s still on the tree.”
Varieties available for picking at the fifth-annual event will be Georgia Belle and Sunprince.
“We’ll have one white peach and one yellow peach,” she said. “If folks want to go to the farmers market and sample the flavor before they pick, they can certainly do that or they can field test it in the orchard.”
She said the Georgia Belle variety is the most popular for Jaemor and can be hard to find elsewhere.
“Georgia Belle is an old-timey Georgia peach variety,” she said. “Not many Georgia growers grow the Georgia Belle anymore. It’s a white peach. It’s not really one for baking, although you certainly can if you really like the flavor. It’s a good eating peach. However, when most people see it the first question they ask is, ‘Is it ripe?’ The skin tends to be a yellow-green with just a hint of blush on the outside of it. But it is a very, very sweet peach and that’s why people really enjoy it.”
As for the Sunprince variety, it’s also a good choice for people with a sweet tooth.
“Sunprince is a large freestone peach with a yellow flesh,” she said. “It is very sweet with just the right amount of acid for a good peachy flavor in August.”
But if those two aren’t enough, there will also be other varieties available for purchase at Jaemor’s market, including July Prince, Loring and Scarlett Prince, as well as more of the Georgia Belle.
“Most of these are for canning, eating fresh, baking or freezing,” Lewallen said.
She said because of the heat this summer, the farm won’t have games or vendors at the event but will instead focus solely on peaches.
“We’ll just be doing hayrides that day and then samples of products in the market,” she said. “This time (we’re) just putting all our efforts and focus on the orchards.”
Picking peaches should give customers plenty to do, as they will be able to fill their baskets from 4 acres of mature trees.
“It’s all weather dependent, but we should have peaches of at least one variety all day,” she said. “Last year was around 3,500 people, and we did not pick out of peaches.”
And while customers pick, Jaemor employees will help make the event a fun one for the entire crowd.
“We want to be as customer-friendly as we can be so there’s lots of employees in the orchard answering questions and being of help (and) taking pictures for families so that they can create those memories,” she said.