MUSELLA, Ga. — It's a sure sign that summer is here -- biting into a big, sweet, juicy Georgia peach.
You're not far away from getting a chance to put some in your cart at the grocery store, and one grower says despite the pandemic, this could be a very good year.
Lee Dickey at Dickey Farms says they will start to ship to grocery stores, and that will happen Thursday, but folks are welcome to stop by their roadside market and pick up Georgia's favorite summertime treat.
Dickey says they began pulling the peaches off the trees this week.
"Nowadays, we grow some nice May varieties," he exclaimed.
Amidst a pandemic, Dickey feels the crop will do well this summer because restaurants don't buy the bulk of a peach crop like some other commodities.
Their main customers are the ones who shop in the grocery stores across the country, and so far, Dickey says they're confident in the transportation lines.
"Everything we've been told right now, we won't have any issues, but the proof is in the pudding. We get into heavy volume the end of this month, beginning of next month, where we are shipping multiple trucks a day," he projected.
To get those boxes and ultimately trucks filled, Dickey has to have a workforce.
He says his crew came in in January, and since then, they've been mindful of coronavirus.
"We were extra careful keeping everyone separate, just following all the worker guidelines," he said.
The peaches got all the chill hours they needed, so Dickey thinks you will find good quality peaches in the produce section.
These last few cold mornings may slow down some of the fruit getting ripe on the tree, but the fifth generation farmer says they can take that in stride in anticipation of a good summer.
"I think it will be the strongest we've seen in five years, so we're excited about that," he said with a smile.
The early varieties help give Georgia peach farmers a jump on farmers in other parts of the country.
Dickey Farms hopes to pack 7-8 million pounds of fruit this summer.
Lane Packing and Taylor Orchards announced on their Facebook pages that they've started picking peaches, too.
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