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Peach farmers sow fruitful future

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If there's one thing Georgia is known for it's the peach. And, right now growers throughout the start are in the middle of a busy season.

But the pressure and stress of producing the perfect peach is now a little less than usual for some farmers this year. It's all thanks to a unique kind of ‘peach partnership.'

Going back to the late 1800s, peaches bloomed in Georgia. You've heard of the Gold Rush. Well, back then it was another color drawing fortune-seekers to the South. Families like the Pearsons settled Lee Pope, Georgia, to finally get a piece of the pie – peach pie, that is.

"On my father's side of the family, one of the innovators of the industry that created the Alberta and the refrigerated rail car and really brought the industry to Georgia..." said Will McGehee, of Pearson Farm.       

These days, each grower still strives to be the best and most successful. Growers do their best to grow the best peach possible. But for many of them, the business of cutting down peaches is fortunately no so cut-throat.

McGehee is a fifth-generation peach grower. The Pearson Farm is now a 1,500-acre operation under his watch.

"You hear a lot of preachers talk about a calling, so to speak...well, we got called into doing this," McGehee said.

And quite a bit has changed in those five generations: new varieties, new techniques. But it's this change that's perhaps the sweetest in the orchard.

"What we all say is, this would be a real lonely business by yourself," said Duke Lake, III of Lane Southern Orchards.

Lake, III is a fifth-generation grower. Technically, his Lane Southern Orchards is a competitor. But this time around, he and McGefee don't see it that way.

"There's a handful of farms that know about Lane Southern Orchards, and Pearson Farm, and Dickey Farms and Taylor Orchard, but everybody knows about Georgia Peaches," Lake, III said.

Through their Georgia Peach Council, those growers are partnering peaches. It's helping them market, sell and even fill their orders for delicious Georgia peaches.

"A lot different than it was  30 or 40 years ago, and if we weren't being met with success at the retail level, it might not be worth it," McGehee said.

But these men say it's working. It's pitting peaches together instead of against each other. And it might just lead to a more fruitful future for everyone.

More Info:

Link: Georgia Peach Council
Recipe: Georgia caprese salad with lime vinaigrette

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