Excited about first Peach Festival experience

Published 8:56 am Monday, July 1, 2013

Growing up, summers often meant tagging along with my mom and grandmother to the farmers market on Finley Boulevard in Birmingham. Most of the farmers would arrive just before sunrise and those that wanted first dibs on the produce and vegetables had to arrive early.

For my mom and grandmother, the thrill of the hunt was locating particular items to can, freeze or bake including Purple Hull peas, Silver Queen corn and Chilton County peaches.

We would walk along the rows of farmers with their pickup trucks filled with the fruits of their labor and only stop when we had located the exact items we wanted to purchase.

Several farmers would often stop my grandmother and allow her to taste their peaches but she was adamant, they had to be from Chilton County.

Although I didn’t know much about Chilton County growing up, I did know that they had the “best” peaches and I knew that going to the farmers market meant that later that afternoon I would sit on my grandmother’s front porch in Forestdale and eat the delicious peaches. She had a knack for peeling the fuzzy exterior with one swoop of her knife that she would do for the picky grandkids that didn’t like the peeling.

I wasn’t always a fan of helping shuck the corn, or shelling the peas due to the purple color staining my fingers for days no matter how many baths I took, but I loved sampling the peaches.

Now, I have the pleasure to work in Chilton County and celebrate the peach and the farmers who grow them almost as much as I did growing up attending the farmers market with my mom and grandmother.

This weekend will be my first Peach Festival with several fun activities planned to celebrate the summer fruit. After months of anticipating tasting a peach and a delay due to cool spring temperatures, I am very excited to attend the Peach Festival Parade on Saturday at 9 a.m. and the Peach Auction following the parade. I will get to see firsthand the tremendous work from farmers that has been put into growing the sweet fruit for everyone to enjoy, the tight-knit community of people coming together to celebrate the summer season by enjoying different activities throughout the weekend and most of all getting to sample some of the fruit I have grown up knowing was the “best.”

Emily Etheredge is a staff writer for The Clanton Advertiser. She can be reached at emily.etheredge@clantonadvertiser.com.