Made in North Georgia
Local businesses are responsible for a variety of products— chicken, chewing gum, yarn and even turkey calls. Today, we continue a series looking at some of those products made right here in Northeast Georgia, with a look at the peaches produced at Jaemor Farm Market in Alto.
Peaches are big business in Georgia. And they’re big business for Northeast Georgia’s Jaemor Farm Market.
Each day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., a crew of about a dozen workers picks the peaches that are sold at the Alto market on Cornelia Highway.
And that’s no small task with more than 100 acres of farmland, 6,000 peach trees and more than 20 varieties of the fruit, from Autumn Prince to White Rose.
Judah Echols, co-owner of the family business along with Jim, Jarl and Drew Echols, said each variety lasts for about two weeks. Having so many varieties allows the farm to provide fresh peaches from the beginning of June through the middle of September.
“We opened the market as an outlet for our peach orchard,” said Judah Echols, co-owner of the business that began in 1981. “We started with just a small building, but now we’ve added onto it around six times.”
Trees are pruned, fertilized and irrigated, and when everything, including the weather, works just right, trees can produce up to 4 bushels of peaches. When harvests are especially bountiful, the Echols family sells produce at other farmers markets around the state. Produce and gifts also are sold online.
“We’ve sort of evolved over the years, but we like to keep things local for the most part,” Echols said. “I love getting to know my customers and seeing families come in year after year.”
Jaemor also uses its fresh produce in a variety of products like peach cider, pickled peaches and peach jam. In the market’s kitchen, customers can find homemade peach ice cream and fried peach pies.
Peaches aren’t the farm’s only crop that pulls double duty. With eight different varieties of apples, those that aren’t scooped up fresh by customers are used to make apple butter, which is also sold at the market.
“I love being able to sell straight to the consumer — no middle man,” Echols said. “We can pick a cantaloupe in the morning and have it in a customer’s hands that afternoon — you can’t get any fresher than that.”
Shannon Casas contributed to this report.