The heat wave might have been unbearable for Hall County residents, but it was just peachy keen for Jaemor Farms.
“It’s bad dry, but it puts good flavor on the peaches,” said Drew Echols, Jaemor farm manager. “You don’t get the size you want on the fruit, but the flavor’s a whole lot better when you have dry weather.”
Despite the benefit, Echols said the irrigation required to make up for the lack of rain was a lot of work, as each plant requires the equivalent of an inch of rain per week.
The Jaemor crew began harvesting the farm’s 65 acres of ripe, red and orange peaches two weeks ago, which is early for the season. Crews work half a day as there are only a few varieties being harvested now, but Echols said harvest will pick up to full days next week.
Echols said they plan to pick 17,000 bushels.
In addition to the peaches, crops including squash, cantaloupe, watermelon and sweet corn won’t have long until they are ripe for picking. Also, starting Saturday, crews will begin harvesting blackberries, which were not grown last year.
The fresh peaches and assorted processed products — such as peach ice cream — already hit the shelves at Jaemor Farm Market.
“It’s clean, it’s nice, it’s friendly here, so we stopped,” said Linda Hanekamp, a Marietta resident. “The peaches smell so good.”
Echols said the most popular varieties of the farm’s 30 are Loring and Georgia Belle.
Mary Kubeck drove from Hoschton to shop for Jaemor peaches.
“People are coming out of the woodwork and bragging on the peaches,” he said, adding he heard nothing but positive feedback from the Jaemor Farms’ Facebook page.
Even Echols can’t deny his love for a soft peach picked fresh from the tree.
“This is my favorite time of the year, just being able to be out in the peach orchards,” he said.