SHARING THE BOUNTY
Posted on December 7, 2018.
Last week, Pearson Farm attended the Taste of Southern event a few miles south of the farm, in Perry. We were privileged to be in the company of many great restaurants and caterers, along with 800 of our closest friends. We served our Buttermilk Pecan Pie and just as expected, the response was overwhelming.
The night was truly festive... all the attendees were dressed in lovely holiday attire, the room was elegantly decorated for Christmas, and each vendor creatively dressed up their booth with twinkle lights, poinsettias, and other holiday adornments.
I was honored to share the booth with 3 of the most amazing women: Maria (Mary's Kitchen's head baker), Carmelita, and Silda (or as we lovingly refer to them, The Sisters). These ladies spend countless hours inside Mary's Kitchen roasting, mixing, stirring, coating, and baking delicious flavored pecans, crunchy pecan cookies, sweet peach preserves, yummy peach and pecan cakes, along with this delicious Buttermilk Pecan Pie. They rarely meet our customers face to face, so it was exciting to have them help greet the attendees and serve this wonderfully delicious pie that they had created.
As delightful as the event was, the real beauty was found in the eyes of these 3 wonderful ladies. Only a handful of our Pearson Farm "FAMILY" have the opportunity to speak with customers, so to witness these ladies interacting with the guests and hearing the compliments and accolades bestowed upon them was truly magical. It was such a blessing to see them having their "Red Carpet" moment and shining like the true stars they are!
Posted on November 2, 2018.
Whether you're preparing a simple meal for a few or a feast for many, we are certain that the Thanksgiving menu is at the top of your To Do list. Recently, we were discussing our Thanksgiving traditions during lunch and it got us to thinking..... how could we use pecans in more ways on our Thanksgiving tables? As you know, we LOVE pecans around here, and we try to use them as much as possible, so we were surprised to find that other than desserts, nuts (especially) pecans are an underused ingredient in most Thanksgiving eats.
We made the decision right then and there that Pearson Farm needed to change that fact. Quickly, this simple idea turned into a challenge for our Mail Order team. We shared family recipes and favorite dishes. We checked out cooking websites and shared special traditions. Our break room turned into a perpetual Thanksgiving test kitchen as we experimented with sweet potatoes, cornbread, and LOTS of green beans. Our goal was to create traditional, Thanksgiving-inspired dishes that contained our crunchy, buttery Pearson Farm pecans.
After 2 months, the menu is finally complete. Along with a few already found on our website, we have created a THANKSGIVING RECIPE Section that highlights 12 of these delicious, inspired, and in some cases, clever holiday recipes that will be savored by all your holiday guests. We have truly enjoyed every minute of searching, inventing, cooking and especially eating these dishes, but our favorite part of the whole experience was spending time together, sharing delicious food, making wonderful memories, and creating new ones to talk about for years to come. Our little challenge turned into an early Thanksgiving celebration at Pearson Farm. We invite you to try these wonderful dishes, and if you do, please make sure to send us a picture and leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page. We hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!
Posted on October 17, 2018.
Pearson Farm is proud of our history and love to share stories of life on the Farm told by Mr. Al and his sisters. Today, we are doing just that with a video from Ms. Peggy Pearson Jerles.
THE NUTTY FINGER
When I was in the second grade 72 years ago at the Zenith School, there was an accident that occurred during recess. The old school house had indoor bathrooms but the access to them was outside. On this particular day, a boy in my class went to the bathroom and upon leaving, slammed his finger in the bathroom door, cutting off the tip-end of his finger. In 1946, the appropriate actions taken were very different from today. The child was hurried off to the doctor but the finger was left behind, coming to rest on a Kleenex in the hand of Miss Lillie Maude Andrews, the first and second grade teacher. Since everyone in the school, grades 1 though 5, heard about the accident and were curious, Miss Andrews held the finger on the Kleenex while all 5 grades filed by and looked at it. After the viewing, all of us trooped out to a big old pecan tree behind the school to bury the finger and say a prayer for the injured student.
And now, just think, Pearson Farm is now selling "Nutty Fingers!"
Peggy Pearson Jerles
Posted on August 10, 2018.
It seems like yesterday, we were praying for our sweet little peach trees and their delicate blooms to make it through the last frost of Spring, yet here we are having picked, packed, and shipped the last box of Pearson Farm peaches for the 2018 season.
Despite only harvesting 50% of a crop, this peach season saw some unprecedented activity.
This crop allowed us to ship more gift pack peaches from our Farm to your door than ever. We made more batches of sweet creamy peach ice cream and greeted more friendly faces in our Retail Store than we could begin to count. We are humbled and ever so grateful to you, our customers for your loyalty and dedication to Pearson Farm.
We offered a special Prince Subscription to our mail order customers. Those who took advantage of this unique opportunity were blessed with seven weeks of Prince Peaches as well as an interesting peach education resulting in many more Peach Fans! We truly enjoyed preparing each weeks special boxes and are already making plans for another special subscription next Peach Season!
This season we continued our partnership with the Plant A Row for the Hungry initiative in Fayette County. Throughout the summer, their mighty band of volunteers picked up and distributed 2506- ½ bushel boxes equaling 62,650 pounds of peaches to over 30 different agencies serving the hungry and needy residents of Fayette and surrounding counties. Of all the partnerships we have at Pearson Farm, this one holds a special place in our hearts.
The highlight of the summer was growing the World’s Largest Peach! Our Early August Prince variety produced a peach weighing 1.8 pounds, breaking the current world record of 1.7 pounds held by a farm in Canada. We are still waiting for the official confirmation from Guinness, but we have enjoyed a fair amount of interesting press coverage for the feat.
As we begin a few days of rest for our weary backs and hands, we are able to pause and reflect on this season. We are so grateful that the good Lord chose to bless us with another bountiful season allowing us to share our bounty with you. It’s not goodbye, just so long till Pecan Season.
Posted on June 15, 2018.
Nothing makes me homesick like smelling peaches in the grocery store. I’ve actually cried in the produce section before. To me, the smell of a peach is heavy with wonderful memories of being a child, riding in my daddy’s truck, or visiting the packing shed. I’m Laurie, the youngest of Al’s 3 children. I’ve lived away now for 20 years but I still miss home and often long to be a little girl again.
For a special Father’s Day blog post, I wanted to write to you about my daddy. You might not know him at all, you might just enjoy the fruit of his labor. Or you might know him as your boss or friend. You don’t know him like I do though. I wish you did. Not many people in this world have a daddy like mine and for that, I am sorry. The two things that stand out to me about my daddy are his hands, and his voice.
He hands are big, strong, and gentle. He uses them to work, to build, to create, to serve, to cook, to clean, to love. He can fix or draw anything with these hands. He can write out scavenger hunts, carve a totem pole, sew a tent, or prepare a fishing pole. He can hold his grand kids like he used to hold us. And he can give the best hugs. He can put you to shame with how he peels a peach-- just set down the knife and let him do it. He is always serving others with his hands, and that is the kind of leader he is. His hands are recognizable and unique partly because they are badly scarred from an accident a long time ago. He actively loves us with his hands in so many ways. His hands and how he uses them remind me of Jesus, who actively loves us with his scarred hands too.
Then there’s his voice. It has a deep southern, resonating tone like none other. He can sing and can make up a song about anything. He is known to just start singing out of the blue no matter who might be listening. I save his voicemails just so I can hear his voice when I want to. It calms me and reminds me that he loves me. If you want to know how to pronounce “Laurie”, ask my daddy, he says it just right. It’s not only how his voice sounds but what he says. My long distance relationship with him is mostly over the phone so I hang onto his words, what he says and how he says it. He can make me laugh or cry in a minute just by being sweet. The words he uses with me remind me again of my heavenly Father. He said just yesterday to me, “That’s not your worry, so you don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.” And he also said recently, “Sugar, you got a lot on your plate. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” So often my earthly father helps me understand my heavenly Father with what he says and how he says it.
Chances are good that you don’t have a daddy like mine. We do have a heavenly Father with capable, gentle, scarred hands and with a voice that calls your name and calls you His own. At the head of Pearson Farm is a father we are proud of and thankful for. If you see him this peach season, shake his strong hand and make sure to have a conversation with him. Tell him Laurie sent you.
Posted on May 7, 2018.
After years of speaking with customers and answering numerous questions about peach varieties, we came to the conclusion that the only way to truly understand the difference is to experience each peach variety first hand. Since color, texture, and taste change throughout the season from one variety to the next, finding a way to share the whole peach experience proved tricky. Those of us in the business know which varieties to wait for and we all have our favorites. Some might call us “peach snobs,” but we prefer “peach aficionado.” Really, we’re just huge peach fans. We want to invite you to join us as peach connoisseurs by taking this journey down the Pearson Prince Peach Path.
What’s that saying, “Variety is the Spice of Life”? Well that holds true with everything it seems, including peaches. Did you know there are more than 2000 peach varieties grown throughout the world? That’s a lot to choose from, so you might wonder why there are so many, what makes each one different, and how farmers choose which varieties to grow. To answer these questions, we decided to enlist the help of some peachy experts. We are fortunate enough to have the two best experts in the field within a short drive of the Farm, and we had to start with Mr. Peach himself, Will McGehee. Will is the founding partner of Genuine Georgia. He eats, sleeps, breathes, but more importantly, sells all our Pearson Farm peaches. He knows everything there is to know about selling peaches, and I mean EVERYTHING! It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a Pearson and has grown up here on the Farm. We’ve cultivated hundreds of varieties over our 135 years, but today we only produce 50 with many bearing the Prince name. Will helped us choose the 6 most interesting Prince varieties to include in our Pearson Prince Subscription. These 6 boxes will offer an assortment of colors, flavors, and textures to arrive on your doorstep every week from June 11-July 23. You’ll get to experience different sizes of peaches, peaches shaped like hearts, and maybe even a few the size of softballs. We want you to see the meaning of “blush on yellow background,” chartreuse peelings, and decide for yourself which peach is referred to as a ‘supermodel.” We know you’ll learn the true difference between clingstone and freestone and maybe decide that the peaches that hold onto their pits aren’t that bad after all. Our true desire is for you to experience every wonderful, sweet, juicy thing you can about peaches in 6 short weeks and join us in our own little exclusive peach club.
To become a true “peach expert,” you’ll need a little history lesson in peach varieties, and for that we went to Dr. Dick Okie. He spent more than 30 years as a stone fruit breeder at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service up the road from the Farm. He tells us that back in the 1930’s, the farmers in this area were experiencing problems with their peach crops. They needed new varieties that would flourish in our soil and climate, and trees that would be resistant to the diseases that were wreaking havoc on their crops. Peach growers wanted firm fruit that could be shipped outside of Georgia and trees hearty enough to extend the season. They hoped these issues could be addressed by the new breeding program that was just getting started. John Weinberger was hired in 1937 as the first breeder at the Peach County office. Believe me when I tell you, tree breeding is a long process. Mr. Weinberger dedicated almost 20 years to the Fort Valley station, developing the foundation for a successful peach breeding program. Victor Prince came on board as his successor in 1955. Mr. Prince worked tirelessly for 25 years, adding his knowledge and experience to work previously started and refused to retire until his replacement, Dr. Dick Okie, was hired in 1980. With the combined efforts of his work and the work of his two predecessors, Dr. Okie was able to release the first Prince variety in 1981…. 50 years after the breeding program started! The science of tree breeding is more advanced than I could ever understand much less communicate, but the idea of 3 men and 80+ combined years of research is easy to define…. It’s called work ethic, and Pearson Farm was fortunate to be right here where all their hard work took place. We were even asked to test a few breeds on our Farm, which made it feel like these gentlemen were breeding peaches specifically for us.
The names of all the varieties was most intriguing to me. I learned that new varieties don’t receive their names until they are released for nursery production. Until that time, they are only identified by a series of letters and numbers. Doesn’t that sound so official, and something you might hear in a science fiction movie? I can almost hear the breeders saying, “BY87P944 has cropped well when chilling has been adequate,” or “BY92P7810 is a highly colored selection with excellent eating quality.” Since Dr. Okie was the breeder of record at the time the Prince varieties were released, he was bestowed the honor of giving them their names. He laughed when he told me that there is no real science to the naming process, but he did feel that brand identification was important for these new varieties. He chose to give them all a double name with the last name being “Prince” as a way of paying tribute to his predecessor, Victor Prince. The first names I learned were chosen for a variety of reasons. For instance, SPRINGPRINCE was named because it is harvested in the Spring, and RUBYPRINCE because of its mostly red color. I found the most interesting to be FLAMEPRINCE whose name was chosen because its first commercial harvest date coincided with the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though Mr. Al once told Dr. Okie, “Dick, there are too many Prince varieties,” we are so glad that he released 15 in the Prince series and proudly grow 11 of them today at Pearson Farm.
So now that we’ve increased your peach IQ, let’s see if we can expand your peach palate by inviting you to join us on this peach adventure. The season is quickly approaching, and the Prince Subscriptions will only be offered for a limited time, so make sure to place your orders early. We want your opinion of every box you receive, and we are excited to hear your comments. We’ll be honored to add you to our list of peachy professionals, and we can’t wait to follow your journey down the Pearson Prince Peach Path.
Posted on April 25, 2018.
Easter coincides with the full moon, and historically there is always a cold snap right before Easter Sunday. For Pearson Farm, Easter brings a sigh of relief, for we have made it through the cold dark winter, and the rising sun brings forth hope that our crop has made it through and now it’s time to get to work tending it. I was reminded this week of one of my favorite hymns, Because He Lives. The words of this beautiful song are a glorious testament to God’s goodness and grace. They declare an endless hope for our future along with a gentle reminder that we are able to face tomorrow with all the uncertainties it brings. Farming is certainly full of unpredictability and concern, but we are able to trust that God is faithful, and He will provide for all our needs. His provision may not always look the way we would like, but we are assured that he will take care of us, Because He Lives!
We hope you will enjoy this Easter weekend like us, gathering with family and friends celebrating the promise that Easter brings. The promise that God sent his only son to die on the cross and then bring Him back from the grave so that we may have eternal life with Him.
“God sent his son, they called him Jesus,
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, All fear is gone,
Because I know, He holds the future,
Life is the worth the living, just BECAUSE HE LIVES!”
Posted on April 25, 2018.
If I've heard him say it once, I've heard him say it 100 times, "old men don't grow peaches." After years like 2017 and weeks like the last two, it's easy to understand why Mr. Al says it. Restless days and sleepless nights spent worrying about freezing temps and frost will turn even a young man's hair gray. We have been fortunate to receive plenty of chill hours to make a good crop of peaches but the last 2 week's weather forecasts have put the crop in danger. Lawton and the other peach farmers around here have spent the last 2 weeks combining the science of modern farming, the tried and true techniques of their forefathers, and a lot of time on their knees in prayer.
Peaches are a difficult crop to grow due to many factors out of farmers control, so we do our best to prepare for these events with a long term approach that encompasses everything from carefully selecting sites for new orchards to planting trees in areas of orchards not prone to frost accumulation. At one time, there were over 50 peach farms in or around Peach county. Today, there are only 5, and while the work is hard on body and soul, we know how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to plant trees and grow delicious peaches and pecans. We feel it is our responsibility to continue what our family started all those years ago.
While a few hours of frost and temps that dipped lower than we like have left their mark, we are tickled about the 2018 crop. We ask that you keep Pearson Farm in your prayers as we make our way through the last week of Winter and first few weeks of Spring continuing to farm our sweet Georgia peaches