Peach season is upon us and Jaemor Farms has plenty to share.
“We’re looking at one of the best crops we’ve probably had in five to 10 years,” Jeremy Echols, Jaemor Farms’ homegrown sales manager said.
He credits this bountiful harvest to the little cold spell that popped up in late March. The temperature dropped to 24 degrees and killed 10-15% of the flowers on many of the peach trees.
Despite frost’s notorious reputation for harming plants, Echols said it “thinned them out good,” which saved a hefty bit of manual labor on the farm in the spring. They take whiffle ball bats and knock off about 10-15% of the young fruit — about the same amount as were killed by the March frost.
If farm-grown peach trees were to grow without human interference, Echols said the plant would overload itself with fruit. The farm’s staff specifically target clusters of peaches, which rot faster because they grow into clusters that trap moisture between the fruit. Echols said the desirable space between peaches is three inches.
Although March’s frost helped the peaches, it wiped out the farm’s plum crop.
The orchard’s staff started the first peach pick of the year on Wednesday, May 22, with the reddish beauty, Flavorich. Echols said this variety gets its name from its taste, which is packed with vibrant peach flavor.
Jaemor Farms grows around 32 types of peaches on more than 300 acres of land. Echols said the best sellers include the Loring, Georgia Belle and Elberta, which is the oldest type of peach in Georgia.
The farm increases its staff for peach season from a 10- to a 60-person team, who work full-time from June to October.
“It takes a lot to run this farm,” Echols said. “They’re also tending to other crops on the 500 acres of land.”
The trees are typically picked a day or two before they’re ripe. Echols said peaches mature faster when they’re off the tree. The baskets sold at Jaemor Farms include peaches ready for eating the day of and some that become ripe in around three days.
Orchard staff keep to a schedule when harvesting the peaches, only taking 10% of the fruit off the trees during each picking. Each tree is picked five to six times each year, with three days between batches.
With peach season beginning, Echols feels the excitement in the air. People have already started asking him which varieties they can expect this year.
“I just like serving people and seeing them happy,” Echols said. “Watching the growing process and seeing our labor come to fruition each season is cool too.”
Jaemor Farms’ peaches are sold at 5340 Cornelia Highway in Alto or its smaller market on 40081 U.S. Highway 441 in Commerce. The peaches also make their way to the Atlanta Farmers Market and pop-up markets at hospitals around Northeast Georgia.
For more information about Jaemor Farms call 770-869-3999.