10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Georgia Peaches

Mercier Orchards

Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge

Things are just peachy here in Georgia even when the beloved Official State Fruit is out of season. Here are ten things you might not have known about the peaches that call Georgia home.

1.) The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks Georgia as one of the top four peach producing states along with California, South Carolina and New Jersey.

2.) The peach is a member of the rose family.

3.) Peaches originally came from China. They were traded along the Silk Road and made their way to Europe before eventually gracing American groves. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, “Franciscan monks introduced peaches to St. Simons and Cumberland islands along Georgia’s coast in 1571.”

4.) During Reconstruction, Georgia farmers were forced to diversify their crops. As the boll weevil moved in and destroyed many cotton crops, farmers added pecans, onions, apples, and peaches.

5.) Georgia’s peaches mainly grow in Crawford, Taylor, Macon and Peach counties.

Dickey Farms

Dickey Farms in Musella

6.) Georgia peaches are used in some of the nation’s top restaurants. The fruit from Pearson Farms in Fort Valley is on tables at Per Se (currently the world’s third most expensive restaurant) in New York City, Hugh Acheson’s restaurants throughout Georgia, The French Laundry in Yountville, California, and Bayou Bakery on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C.

7.) Berckmans Nursery was a hub for horticulture in the mid to late 1800s in Augusta. At the complex, the Berckman family worked to develop breeds of peaches that would thrive in Georgia’s climate, leading to Georgia’s prosperous crops for generations. Prosper Berckman soon became known as the “Father of Peach Culture.”

8.) When legendary golfer and Atlanta native Bobby Jones was working to create what is now Augusta National Golf Club, Prosper Berckman’s sons were helping to design the landscaping. The Club would eventually take over the Berckmans Nursery area and incorporate it into the Club with the Berckmans’ home, known as Fruitland Manor becoming the Augusta National Clubhouse. Many of the varieties of plants (including peaches) that were part of Berckmans Nursery still thrive on Club property.

9.) Most of the peaches sold in Georgia are sold fresh. Despite the large number of bushels picked each year, there are no major processing operations in the state according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

10.) The World’s Largest Peach Cobbler is made each year at the Georgia Peach Festival in Fort Valley. The enormously tasty creation is 11 by 5 feet and about eight inches deep. Tasting the cobbler is free.


EileenEileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Georgia Grown: Hardy Farms Peanuts


Name: Hardy Farms Peanuts

Where: Hawkinsville, Georgia

Brad_Ken HardyStory: Hardy Farms has been a family owned business since 1935. From supermarkets to roadside stands, Hardy Farms has been turning out the finest peanuts around. Hardy Farms uses only the finest & freshest peanuts available. Their longstanding reputation for quality has made their peanuts some of the most popular in the southeast! They pick their peanuts daily, then clean, process and package them just for you, allowing you to take them from the bag directly to the pot! They will even cook them using their proven method of boiling and ship them to you ready to enjoy!


Where to Buy: Hardy Farms processes and ships fresh Green and Boiled Peanuts to Publix, Kroger, Harveys, and Winn Dixie Supermarket Distribution Centers throughout the Southeast region of the United States. They also ship mail orders via www.hardyfarmspeanuts.com. Hardy Farms also currently deploys 30 Hardy Farms Peanut stands throughout Central Georgia. Those stands are open around the first of August through the end of November depending on the weather. Keep an eye out!


Georgia Grown: Hunter Cattle Company


What: Hunter Cattle Company

Where: Brooklet, Georgia

382674_10150401859526324_840687155_nWho: The Ferguson Family

The Story: Del Ferguson has run Hunter Cattle Company since 2003 with his wife, Debra, their youngest son, Hunter, their oldest son, Anthony, and daughter, Kristan, who also live and work on the farm with families of their own. For Ferguson, who was raised on a small family farm in Appling County, Georgia, Hunter Cattle Company represents the realization of a lifelong dream. After 25 years of operating his own business in the Savannah area, Ferguson, along with his family, began the farm with the goal of raising quality animals. “We try to do it like it was a hundred years ago,” says Ferguson, who was inspired to pursue an all-natural, grass-fed, free-range approach to farming after his wife read about the health benefits associated with eating meat from naturally raised animals. Hunter Cattle Company operates under the guidelines of the American Grassfed Association and the organization Animal Welfare Approved. Under these guidelines, all the animals on the farm—pigs, chickens, cows, or even the turkeys currently being raised for Thanksgiving—receive no growth hormones, antibiotics or processed grains, and are free to move throughout the pasture.

Click here to buy Hunter Cattle Company products.

 hccTip: Have an authentic farm experience when you stay in the Barn Lofts at Hunter Cattle Company!