My Father always told me, “Son, if you're ever going to make any money, you're going to make it off of a tree.” I guess he was right. I've spent my life working peach and pecan trees, and, if I've made money, it has come from those two enterprises. I can only hope there is a good economic future for peaches and pecans because my son, Lawton, and I are heavily committed to trees as the focus of our business for years to come.
Pearson Farm consists of 1400 acres of peaches and 2300 acres of pecans. We grow over 30 varieties of peaches and 15 varieties of pecans, all selected for our growing area and soil. Peach trees live for about 15 years, but we have pecan trees that are over 100 years old. We work to keep the weeds, grass, insects, wild hogs and deer from damaging our trees. We even use scarecrows, rock music, and pepper spray to repel deer, but human presence works best.
Pruning peaches in January and February, thinning off peaches in April, and a hopeful harvest in May, June and July makes up peach season. Virtually all work is done by hand, so we employ up to 200 workers in the peak season. Pecans don't require as much labor, so our full time workers, about 30, can do most of that work. Orchard care through the summer and harvest in the fall puts the nuts in the bag.
Organic peaches in the humid Southeast are commercially impossible at this time, but we do all we can to limit the amount of pesticides we must apply to peaches and pecans to deliver quality products to our customers. We scout our orchards weekly, control drift by monitoring droplet size and wind, respect re-entry and pre-harvest intervals required by labels, utilize personal protection equipment for employee safety, and continually monitor application conditions and equipment. We also encourage beneficial insects and ground covers to generate a vibrant growing environment which we irrigate with efficient drip irrigation. We are certified under the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Primus programs which require particular procedures and monitoring to insure the safety and security of our products. We were one of the first three farms in Georgia to attain GAP status in 2002.
Click here to view peach varieties and start dates.
My Father's advice was right, so far, but not complete. He left out the equally important requirement for a successful peach and pecan farm—dependable, talented, dedicated employees. Pearson Farm is blessed with a staff that is unequalled; from Vicki, a superwoman office manager; to Israel and Maribel, children of our first Hispanic crew leader, who now occupy the crew leader and accountant seats; to Frank, manager of the “Hotel”; to Gary in the packing house, Fred in the shop, and Betty in retail--all dedicated to the continued success of the Farm that they are so much a part of. I can personally grow enough peaches and pecans for my family and any need I might have to get my horticulture fix, but it takes 200 special people to produce a marketable crop to support an enterprise such as Pearson Farm, and we all make our money from trees.