There is nothing like a sweet, juicy home-grown peach on a hot summer day. Peaches were first introduced from China, but have grown extremely well in the southern US. Southern Georgia has been the peach capital of the world for years. Yet there are some farms relatively near to Atlanta that open to visitors during peach season.
Pick-your-own is a simple task for ground-growing strawberries and blueberries, but peaches grow on trees, so not many farms will allow visitors into their orchards for safety reasons. However, there are other ways to enjoy the fragrant summer peach experience. Most of these places are open daily, but call before you go, just to make sure. Pets are not allowed at any of these farms or markets.
Southern Belle Farm An eight-generation farm only 35 miles outside of downtown Atlanta in McDonough. The Carter family has made a destination that is family-oriented, welcoming visitors to farm life, to ‘sit a spell’ and relax, and to introduce children to farming life. Yes, you can pick peaches here, along with blackberries, blueberries and zinnias. They are open daily, with an animal barn, and their own market and bakery featuring fresh produce, preserves, crispy fried pies, indulgent cobblers and homemade ice cream. Admission is $1. Call before you go, to see if they are grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, or making BBQ that day. Otherwise, bring lunch. Fresh snacks are available at their market.
Penelope’s Peaches Newnan used to be known for its peaches. This is a smaller farm making a comeback. There are only six acres, but they claim 1,000 peach trees. It’s family friendly, with onsite parking and public restrooms. Call to schedule a picking time. And check the website for their peach pie recipe.
Jaemor Farms on Cornelia Highway in Alto, in the North Georgia mountains, has a 500 acre farm that has been run by the Echols family for more than 100 years. They grow 32 varieties of peaches. No one may visit the farm except during festivals twice a year, but for 40 years the Echols family has been running a roadside market notable for all their own fresh produce. It’s open daily, with both fruits and vegetables, jams, jellies, soup and sauces, fried pies and fresh peach ice cream, and even fruit trees and vines to take home and start your own orchard.
Dickey Farms in Musella. The Dickey family has been growing peaches for 120 years. They are open daily. Although there is no orchard picking, free tours of the packing house are available Monday through Friday, and you can pick the juicy overripe peaches that are not chosen for packing. The family is eager to teach about farming in Georgia. Their market on the premises has baskets of fresh peaches, salsa, preserves, jams and jellies and more, plus mouth-watering peach ice cream, and a playground for the kids. They encourage you to bring a picnic lunch and stay awhile.
Come for the peaches, stay for the experience. It’s a special opportunity to learn about farming.