When I was little, I had a Little Golden Book about Farmer Brown's Farm.
I was thrilled for Mama to take us to Farmer Brown’s Market in Montezuma, Georgia as children ...... and to tell you the truth, I still have the same thrill today!
Mimi and I went the other day for Elberta Peaches. Farmer Brown’s grows and sells the iconic peach in late July and into August in the same county from which they came. Though not the same Farmer Brown as in my Little Golden Book, the story is very much the same – a farm full of beautiful fruits and veggies and flowers set in a lovely land. This land called Macon County, Georgia, has stories upon stories of its own, but one in particular relates to peaches and thus our pilgrimage Farmer Brown’s.
Georgia’s red clay soil and temperate winters makes for fine peach growing. At the onset of refrigerated rail cars, Mr. Samuel H. Rumph of Marshallville, Georgia, developed a variety of peach that could withstand a distance before becoming too soft. New York and other Northern states were pining for our peaches and this firm fruit and cool cars became famous. The Georgia peach industry was born.
…In 1875, when Mrs. L. E. Veal, a former college mate of Mrs. Rumph's was visiting at Willow Lake, Mr. Rumph was exhibiting to her one specimen after another of peaches. Finally, he brought out a clear seeded peach with yellow flesh and a crimson blush on its cheek. Loud were the exclamations when it was shown. Mrs. Veal asked its name.
He replied, "It has no name. It is my origination. I want you to name it."
Whereupon Mrs. Veal said, "Well, let's honor your wife and call it for her. You'll never have anything to surpass it on this continent. Elberta is its name."
A delicious peach on its own, this variety makes for perfect pies, jam-up jams and jellies, terrific tarts, and “puts up” marvelously. The latter one reason Mimi so loves this peach. While we’re in the swansong of peach season, Mimi “puts up” peaches for our enjoyment, for soon peach season is only a sticky, sweaty, yet sweet memory.
Farmer Brown’s isn’t just for peaches either! Purveyors of peas, tomatoes, squash, okra, and a myriad of other summer produce, this destination is well worth the trip. Zinnias galore and fields brimming with sunflowers combined with peach crisp and ice cream are reason enough for this Farmer to head to Macon County. I’m glad that my storybook Farmer Brown has a real life counterpart! From the peach fields of Middle Georgia to you, happy summer ya’ll!