White peach, Knight brothers claim auction’s top two spots
Published 1:19 pm Saturday, June 29, 2019
The 2019 Peach Auction was only the second time that a white peach had won the event.
However, the White County variety took it even a step further by claiming the top two spots at this year’s event.
M&M Farms with Mark and Melissa Knight grew the “best peach” basket, while his brother Seth Knight with Knight Farms made it a family affair with a second-place finish.
“We always keep an eye on two or three varieties, but the variety I thought would do good didn’t even place,” Mark Knight said. “You just never know.”
A white peach variety has won two of the last three years following Jerry Harrison’s victory in 2017 with a Carolina Belle.
According to Mark Knight, the crop of peaches that produced the winner actually came in two weeks early.
“They usually don’t fall in this [time] slot,” Mark Knight said. “Other peaches were bigger, but they were just so pretty and laid in the basket so good.”
There are differences in texture and flavor with a white peach compared to a more typical variety.
“It’s a lot softer and really sweet,” Mark Knight said.
However, Mark Knight said that one of the downsides of white peaches is that they get ripe very quickly.
“For years people have been trying to develop a good firm white peach that will at least last to be hauled 50 to 60 miles,” Mark Knight said. “They’ve got several now that can do that.”
Nineteen baskets were sold during the auction from nine different farmers across the county.
The Chilton County Farmer’s Federation purchased the top basket from M&M Farms for $4,200, while Clanton Tractor purchased the runner-up for $2,700.
“It helps promote the industry and goes to a real good cause,” Chilton County Farmers Federation President Wendell Kelley said. “We are farmers and we represent all of the farmers. We try to help out anyway we can.”
The top five peach baskets each sold for more than $1,000.
Several dignitaries from throughout the area and the state were on hand for the auction and the Peach Festival weekend.
One of several politicians in attendance that bought a basket included former Auburn head coach and U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville.
“Farming is the biggest industry in this state, and we’re peach fans,” Tuberville said. “Obiviously everybody doesn’t grow peaches, but to see the support the community has for its farmers makes you feel good.”
The final basket of the auction was purchased in memory of former Rep. Jimmy Martin.
Final results from the 2019 Peach Auction. Included is the grower, the purchase price and the buyer for all 19 baskets of peaches.
M&M Farms: $4,200 by Chilton County Farmers Federation
Knight Farms: $2,700 by Clanton Tractor
Patterson Farms: $1,500 by River Bank & Trust
Jimmy Harrison: $1,500 by Marion Bank & Trust
Kenneth and Kenyon Easterling: $1,100 by Alabama Bridge Builders
Todd’s Produce: $600 by SunSouth
Knight Farms: $550 by Van Smith
M&M Farms: $650 by Chilton County Republican Party
Joshua Jones: $700 by The Clanton Advertiser
Wise Farms: $550 by Sen. Cam Ward
Jerry Harrison: $500 by Chilton Contractors
Patterson Farms: $500 by Allen Caton
Kenneth and Kenyon Easterling: $500 by John Merrill
Jimmy Harrison: $525 by Wadsworth Oil
JJ’s Produce: $600 by Tommy Tuberville
Chilton Research and Extension Center: $525 by Gary Palmer
Joshua Jones: $500 by Chilton Contractors
Jimmy Harrison: $525 by Gary Palmer
Wise Farms: $525 in memory of Jimmy Martin