SHARING THE BOUNTY
Posted on April 25, 2018.
People, Preserves, Progress and Peaches are words that have been uttered over and over again this week.
People have been filling our parking lot and rocking chairs daily. Many of these People are locals who just drop in for an afternoon snack of delicious peach or butter pecan ice cream while others have driven out to purchase our Pearson Farm peaches to put in their freezers to savor throughout the year. The last two weeks we have greeted People from Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Minnesota. We have enjoyed meeting each of you and appreciate all the wonderful comments you have left in our guest book. Especially, the family from Davenport, Washington who wrote, “Well worth the looong drive!!”
Preserves have been on the menu in the kitchen this week. We only make our delicious preserves with fresh peaches and since they are in short supply and going quickly we are working overtime to get enough made to last until next season. Maria and her crew have been peeling, slicing, stirring, and pouring jars and jars of our delightful peach preserves.
Progress is the word we are using to describe our upcoming expansion plans…. Every pad of concrete poured, steel beam erected, and electrical switch installed brings us closer to moving our mail order and shipping department into a newly renovated and expanded home. We will keep you posted on the continued Progress, so stay tuned…….
Peaches, obviously, because we are in the final days of the season. “Do you still have Peaches ……? Are you still shipping Peaches .….? How much longer will you have Peaches ……? are questions we have answered many times. We’ve even asked these same questions ourselves and Lawton and Mr. Al have been able to provide us with enough Peaches every day to get us through the week. The final picking will happen on Monday so we hope to have plenty of peaches to get us through next week. We will close out the season with Flame Prince. And let me just say….. they are DELICIOUS!!! We will be sad to see them go but go they will, so make plans to come see us next week to get the last of the 2017 sweet, juicy, Pearson Farm Peaches!!!
Posted on April 25, 2018.
For years, we have been filling bins, hauling wagons and dumping peaches onto the belts of the packing house here at Pearson Farm. The days start with the rising sun in dew covered orchards and don’t end until well after the sun has set. These long days are full of fuzzy, sweet peaches that are picked for our customers and shipped all over the great US of A. We start harvesting the first few weeks in May and run full steam right on into August, but not this year…….. next week, we will dump the final bin of peaches for the 2017 season. The last days for running peaches are always filled with a variety of emotions. For the workers who spend hours picking, grading, box making, and loading trucks, it’s Excitement. Many of these folks have been away from their families since the beginning of the year and will finally make that trek back home. For Will and his crew at Genuine Georgia (they’re the folks who work so hard to sell our peaches), Accomplishment is the name of the game as that last bin is dropped. The coordination needed to grow a crop of peaches, nurture them to maturity, then pick, pack, and ship them to our customers is amazing. When that last peach rolls off the belt into a box, it is that sense of accomplishment that allows them to say, “We did it!” For Mr. Al and Lawton, it’s Relief…… Relief that nothing else can happen to the crop. They won’t have to worry about hail, bugs, disease, rain, etc (for a few weeks at least). Relief that all these wonderful people we have been hosting here on the Farm, will now be able to return home to their families. As that last bin is dropped, they will both draw a long, deep breath…… As great as all these emotions are, I believe there is another that is felt more strongly and experienced by everyone here at the Farm this year and that is Gratitude. We are so thankful to have been able to harvest 18% of a crop! There were a couple weeks in early spring, we thought we might not have a single peach. We were blessed with good quality fruit and have been intrigued and entertained with the different sizes and shapes. We are appreciative that the circumstances of this year’s crop allowed us to have wonderful conversations with our customers who called or visited us here at Farm. We are thankful for John Short @georgiaproudprovisions and your crew that tirelessly staff the Farmers Markets in Atlanta with our Pearson Farm peaches and pecans. Thank you also to The Peach Truck and Tree-Ripe Citrus Co. for your annual tours to carry Pearson Farm peaches and pecans to customers who otherwise might not get to taste our sweet Georgia peaches. We are very grateful for your dedication and love for Pearson Farm. And finally, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all our customers!!! We appreciate each and every one of you and hope to see you in the fall for pecans.
As this season draws to an end, we are reminded of the motto Mr. Al adopted for us back in March, “Dum Spiro Spero…. While I breathe, I HOPE”. We have faithfully trusted that God would guide us through the difficulties of this season and provide….…..and we are grateful that he has done just that!
“And so, Lord, where do I put my HOPE? My only HOPE is in you….. Psalm 39:7”
PS….. Mr. Al and Lawton are saving enough bins from this final run to hopefully keep the Farm Store stocked with peaches through the end of the month. Please continue to visit us but make sure you call first.
Posted on April 25, 2018.
Peaches, Boxes, Green Foam, Strapper, Boxes, Peaches, Corporate Customers, Boxes, Cakes, Labels, Brown trucks and trailers, Preserves, Peaches, and oh did I mention, BOXES..... This week has been all about shipping the precious few sweet, juicy, Pearson Farm peaches we have this season. Suffice it to say, when you have to ship all your corporate orders along with your regular peach orders in a 2-week span, life can get a little crazy!!
Just as we are grateful for every single one of these sweet, fuzzy peaches, we are thankful for all of our customers!! We appreciate your patience and understanding of the challenges we have faced this season. We are much obliged for the prayers you have offered and the wonderful conversations we have shared with you over the phone and in the store. But mostly, we are overwhelmed with your support of our beloved Pearson Farm. To all our returning customers, thanks so much, it's been great hearing from you all this year and to our new customers..... Welcome to the "FAMILY"!!
Posted on April 25, 2018.
This Sunday, June 18, we will be honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood. So, I decided to sit down with the Pearson dads, to discuss their fathers and the influence they have had on their lives and Pearson Farm……
Mr. Al spent a short 29 years with his father but his guidance continues to have an impact today. I asked him to share with us a few things he learned from his dad……. “He was pretty good at balancing work and play. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and a little golf. I was allowed to tag along on many fishing and hunting trips. We were expected to work on the Farm in the summer but were allowed and encouraged to participate in school activities such as sports and literary during the school year..... He demanded respect for my mother!! He didn’t believe in just ‘hanging out’ …. if you didn’t have something to do, you came home.....He taught me to respect and appreciate the people who worked for us.......My father farmed through the depression and was deathly afraid of debt. This caused him to be very cautious. He taught us that money should be respected in bad times as well as good......The biggest impact he had on my life was teaching me that farming was more than a vocation, it was a lifestyle. Every aspect of our family revolved around farming. We lived, worked, played and worshiped on the Farm.” Some of Mr. Al’s fondest memories of his father were from their family vacations. “They were fun! Most were spent in Daytona Beach, Florida after peach season ended. Everyone was there, ready to relax and enjoy a little time with family and friends.” I asked Mr. Al if his father expected him to continue in the family business of farming. He was, after all, the 4th generation. It seemed likely that the expectation would have been assumed. However, that wasn’t the case. Mr. Al said, he was sure his father would have been proud that he and his sisters continued farming after he passed away, but he never felt pressure to farm. In fact, his father told Mr. Al that he would send him to school as long as he wanted to go. He had even stopped planting peach trees to focus on growing pecans. Something Mr. Al had started doing before Lawton came back home to farm.
Like his father, Lawton went to college, met his wife and then came back to the Farm. Lawton’s farm life was different than Mr. Al’s in that he didn’t live on the Farm, but he did spend lots of time here. One of his favorite memories is of riding in the truck with his dad checking out the peaches. As they were creeping through a particularly narrow row, a branch that had bent back just as far as it could bend without breaking, all of a sudden snapped into the window and popped Lawton right in the face!!...... When I asked Lawton about lessons he has learned from Mr. Al, he really didn’t know where to start. “Lots, he said…..probably most important and something he has said so many times, True character of a man is determined by what he does when he thinks no one is looking"…. He also told me to "Be good to the trees and they’ll be good to you…..When you plant young trees, don’t just leave them alone…. touch their leaves, pinch the tips, love on ‘em a little.” Lawton says that he has always been involved with the Farm. As a young boy, riding around looking at trees with Mr. Al and helping out in the packing shed. As he grew older, he drove tractors and Mr. Al even gave him a caliper to track the growth of peaches for a 2- week span when he was 16. “Of course, he didn’t need me to do it but it made me feel important and I loved it”, Lawton told me. And when it came time for Lawton to go to college, he was encouraged to pursue whatever career, goal, or adventure he wanted. There was never any expectation that he should return to the Farm and he states the he never wanted the Farm to choose him. Being granted permission to pursue other avenues, actually gave him the choice to come back to the Farm. Lawton hopes that his children will be involved in the Farm but he will offer them this same empowerment, to follow their dreams. As for now, they will ride through the orchards in the truck with him, and learn lessons that have been handed down from the generations who worked and loved this dusty, red dirt of Pearson Farm.
Just as I asked Mr. Al and Lawton about lessons learned from their dads, I asked Lawton's children to share things their daddy has taught them. I LOVE, LOVE their responses…. and I know you will too
Adeline- “How to be brave... to hunt.... about peaches.... to love candy.... and to be kind to others”
Cort- “How to pick peaches......how to tell if they are ripe or not....what a button peach looks like”
Sutton- “He taught me about peaches but I forgot......be kind...... to fish.... to hunt......to be a good farmer..... and to be a good brother”
For all you dad’s out there…..Pearson Farm wishes you all, a Very Happy Father’s Day!
Mr. Al and his father Mr. Al and Lawton Lawton and Dooney
Lawton with Cort and Adeline Lawton with Adeline and Sutton
Posted on April 25, 2018.
This week we are celebrating the Georgia Peach Festival here in town. It starts the first weekend of June in Byron and concludes in Fort Valley the following weekend. The calendar of events includes Food and Arts & Crafts vendors, a Quilt Raffle, Butterfly Hunt Contest, Sidewalk Chalk Contest and no festival is complete without a Parade. The Kiwanis Club serve a Pancake Breakfast and the Historical Society sells tickets for their annual Chicken Salad luncheon that includes the best peach ice cream, churned right here at Pearson Farm. Rich Bennet and his band of volunteers will start cooking the World’s Largest Peach Cobbler in the wee morning hours of Saturday so it will be ready to serve mid-afternoon (I literally could write an entire post about this cobbler. It really is the World’s largest and Pearson Farm peaches are in it every year!) Live music will entertain festival goers at the Gazebo downtown and the festival will conclude with a 3D Fireworks extravaganza following the Beach Party at the Peach Beach.
Back in the early 1920's, the first peach blossoms of the year were celebrated in Fort Valley, with extravagant festivals that some say rivaled Mardis Gras and California’s Rose Festival. These celebrations were full of dancing, singing and elaborate pageants that attracted attention from National Geographic, The New York Times and Hollywood movie studios. Not long after, thousands of folks, from all over the world, found their way to little ole Fort Valley each March. It was said, as many as 40,000 people showed up to help celebrate these little pink blossoms. History tells us that in 1926, the festival ended because it was just too successful!!
Some sixty years later, Mr. Hal Peavy brought forth the idea to revive the historic festival. He wanted to promote Peach County and highlight the peach industry’s contribution to the livelihood of the state of Georgia. Who could blame him, Georgia ranks third in the nation in annual peach production, with more than 15,000 acres of peach trees yielding more than 1.7 million bushels of peaches. Not to mention, half of that harvest is cultivated in Peach County alone. The decision was made to move the festival to the summer during the harvest season and rename it the Georgia Peach Festival.
Despite the issues this peach crop has faced, Peach county is still celebrating and Pearson Farm will be joining the festivities. We hope you'll come out Saturday and enjoy all the 2017 Georgia Peach Festival has to offer. Before you leave town, make plans to come on out and see us at the Farm. We'll have some of our best, sweet, juicy peaches waiting at the door and of course, plenty of ice cream. We'll save a rocking chair for you.... we hope to see you soon!!
Posted on April 25, 2018.
Peach season is in full swing out here on the Farm. Vans are pulling in the peach orchards with picking crews just as the sun is starting to rise. The packing house is running most days as we process the peaches and load trucks carrying them to destinations near and far. Our Farm store is welcoming customers looking for bags and boxes of peaches. Some will be making delicious recipes for tonight’s dinner or dessert, some are filling their freezers with peaches to use throughout the year while others are just enjoying some time away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind as they sit in one of our rocking chairs and enjoy some of our homemade peach cobbler, creamy, dreamy ice cream or a cup of refreshing peach lemonade.
The common factor binding all this together is the “PEACH”. It’s what has kept the Pearson family farming for more than 135 years…. the reason we all have jobs at Pearson Farm….. and why customers keep coming through our doors and looking for us at grocery stores and farmers markets. Peaches bring Pearson Farm to life. Everyone looks forward to the sights and sounds that come from the season, and OH, did I mention, the smells???? We love nothing more than the sweet smell of the packing house full of these little round, fuzzy gems except maybe, taking a bite of a peach that’s perfectly ripe and leaves you with that sweet juice running down your chin.
Since peaches are such an important part of Pearson Farm, we thought it might be fun to share some interesting facts you may not know….
The Peach originated in China and has been grown since 1000 B.C.E.
The Chinese culture has special significance for the peach because they believe peaches have mystical attributes and supposedly bring luck, abundance and protection.
The Peach tree is considered to be the tree of life, and peaches symbols of immortality and unity. Chinese brides even carry peach blossoms in their bouquets
Romans called peaches “Persian Apples”.
Columbus brought peach trees to America on his second and third voyages.
Peaches are a member of the rose family distinguished by their velvety skin.
There are over 700 varieties of peaches (we grow over 30 varieties at Pearson Farm)
Peaches are a good source of vitamins A, B, & C.
A medium peach contains only 37 calories.
The world’s largest peach cobbler is cooked in Georgia, actually right down the road from Pearson Farm in Fort Valley and measures 11 feet by 5 feet.
At Pearson Farm, peaches are the tie that binds, and we are grateful for everyone single one that is being picked, processed, bought, shipped, cooked and eaten this 2017 peach season. We hope you’ll stop by often, and call or visit us on the web. They won’t be hanging out for long this year so make your plans to call or visit today. We hope to see you soon.
Posted on April 25, 2018.
The 2017 peach season has officially started and with that comes the opening of our Farm store. We open the store every summer to sell our sweet, juicy Georgia peaches, and we are fortunate to have the best “kids” show up to work every season.
For years, peach farms relied on local teenage and young adult labor to work in the fields and packing houses. With the shortened summer vacations offered by our school systems, local kids have less time to offer seasonal employers. Thankfully, our Farm store is still able to utilize high school and college students to greet and serve our guests. This season, we have some who are returning for their 5th year, while others are new to the Farm. They arrive every morning with a smile, ready to face the day with excitement, strength and grace. Their energy is contagious, and believe me when I tell you, their futures are bright! These young people share a work ethic and love for Pearson Farm that makes us proud to have them spending their summer breaks with us.
We invite you come out to the Farm and meet them; experience a little of their excitement and southern hospitality. While you’re here, you might as well let them fix you a mile, high ice cream cone or share their knowledge about our peaches and pecans. (Did I mention that they’re pretty smart too )
Our doors are open Monday – Saturday 9:00 am until 5:30 pm. We hope to see you soon…….
Posted on April 25, 2018.
We had a different Pearson hosting activities out here on the Farm today. Cort invited his 1st Grade class to come pick peaches. He brought 31 of his closest friends to learn how his daddy and granddaddy spend their time every day. His daddy told them all about the many varieties of sweet Georgia peaches we grow. “There’s a little something different about each one, just like each of you”, Lawton shared before giving each child a sticker with their new “peach” name. They learned how to tell when a peach is ripe and the best way to pick them right off the tree. By the time the bus pulled out of the orchard, their baskets were full and running over with our fuzzy, sweet peaches. Cort’s granddaddy met them in the packing house, where he told story after story of his life growing up here on the Farm. They had plenty of questions, especially about the sizes of the peaches and pecans. He even blessed everyone with a beautiful song about Zenithland. They enjoyed their lunches and OF COURSE, a cup of our home made peach ice cream while waiting on the packing house to start running. I thought we got excited when the lines start, but these 1st graders put us to shame!! They had this old packing house rocking as they anxiously waited on Vince to dump that first bin of the day. It was a fun morning.
Thank you Cort for being such a gracious host, thank you for sharing your knowledge about peaches and especially the cold room, but above all, thank you for sharing your friends with Pearson Farm. Like we say around our house, friends are family too…….
Posted on April 25, 2018.
This Sunday we will be honoring, remembering and celebrating our mothers, and like you, I have been thinking of mine. She passed away 5 years ago and I miss her everyday but I remember her wise words of wisdom and call on them often to help with my own children, obstacles at work and just navigating through life. Phrases like, “Make sure you always have your own money”, “Soap is cheap…there’s no excuse for being dirty”, “Manners are free”, and “Anything worth having is worth working for” were heard from my mother as she tried her best to steer us in the right direction. I find it funny how these old, sage words are still applicable today in so many aspects of our lives and I’ve even found many that apply to this 2017 Peach Season.
As we have shared with you all, this year’s crop has faced many challenges during the important growing months. When difficult times present themselves, human nature compels us to look for ways to rise above and persevere. We have chosen a few of these wise phrases from our moms that are defining and guiding us as we embark on this 2017 Peach Season:
#1 DONT JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER….. The fruit we will have available this year may appear a little different than in years past. They may look more like tear drops and hearts than peaches…. but they will still have their same sweet, delicious taste and juiciness we all love. We know that you will enjoy and be intrigued with the many shapes and sizes of this year's crop.
#2 NEVER LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH….. This phrase refers to being unappreciative and questioning of a gift. Pearson Farm is taking this one seriously. With the obstacles this crop has been presented, having a single peach is truly a miracle. We understand that these little, fuzzy, sweet gems that survived are fighters. Hey ya’ll, these peaches are a gift, and we are grateful for every single one!
#3 MAKE LEMONADE OUT OF LEMONS…. In a season like this, Pearson Farm could have thrown our hands up and given in to the disappointment that comes with factors out of our control. BUT…. We chose to keep on trucking and find ways to make the most of the best we’ve been given. We are embracing the peaches we will have this year and look forward to sharing them with you. We are taking this opportunity to make some exciting changes to our Farm Store. These improvements and additions will allow us to provide a Farmers Market style shopping experience. Don’t worry, you can still watch the peaches run down the packing line and enjoy the same delicious peach ice cream and homemade treats we’ve always had…… it just might be a little cooler
Please mark your calendars for Friday, May 26. Our retail store will open at 9:00 with our field run peaches that are hand-picked daily. The ice cream will be churning and we might even have a few new treats to tempt your taste buds. We look forward to seeing you all real soon at Pearson Farm
Posted on April 25, 2018.
We are within days of finishing up the renovations at the church. Just a few touches of paint, a light bulb or two and a final inspection are all that’s left. Mr. Al and I spent a little time together this week reflecting on this journey of the “salvation of the church” and looking toward what the future holds for Hebron.
For Pearson Farm, the church building will provide space for employees to gather centrally as well as employee training. We will now be able to provide food safety programs, physical safety protocols and employee education meetings in a comfortable, climate controlled environment. The church will be open and available to provide a respite from work for weary employees. Pearson Farm now has a beautiful and large space to host industry meetings and luncheons (we are really looking forward to this 😊) For our community, Hebron will be available for a wedding, funeral, social gathering or meeting place. Last but certainly not least, the Hebron Church will be a place of worship.
As Mr. Al shared his plans for the future of the church, he finished with the words, “I HOPE it will be used like this.” There was that word again... HOPE. It just keeps showing up. Whether it’s in Lawton’s eyes as he drives through the peach orchards surveying our 2017 peach crop, or in the words he and Mr. Al use as they share their projections for the crop with our Pearson Farm family, HOPE is the prevailing theme. “Dum Spiro Spero…..While I breathe, I HOPE”
Romans 15:13 May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE