Farmers come through for Peach Auction

Published 11:47 am Friday, June 30, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Each year tens of peach farmers across Chilton County prepare their farms to achieve the best crop yield they can. However, factors like drought, a late spring freeze or animals eating the crops can affect how big or small that yield is, and it varies year to year.

Last year’s peach yield in Chilton County was very plentiful with peaches growing everywhere across the county. This year was a bit different, as a late spring freeze and lack of rain contributed to a lower number of peaches available.

When it came down to around a month until the Peach Auction sponsored by the Clanton Lions Club, there was doubt that the auction could even happen. The Clanton Lions Club and the peach farmers in the county held a meeting a few weeks before the auction about canceling it.

“They said ‘Glenn, we will do whatever we can to help you with that auction because we know you will give that money back to the community,’” Peach Auction Chairman Glenn McGriff said. “The farmers said ‘Do not cancel the auction, we will have some peaches.’ They came through big time.”

Not only did the peach farmers come through for the auction to happen, but they produced more baskets for bid this year than last year. The auction set a new all-time record with $84,400 raised. It also set a record for the highest basket ever purchased with Shelby Concrete buying the first-place July Prince basket from M&M Farms for $20,000.

“That is what a small-town community is all about,” McGriff said. “We were so close to canceling it, and to turn around and do this … The good Lord blessed us.”

Among the peach farms who contributed baskets to the auction were M&M Farms, JJ’s Produce, Penton Farms, C&J Farms, Knight’s Farm, Henry and Suzanne Williams, the Chilton County Research and Extension Center, Harrison Fruit Farms, Burnette Farms, Mountain View Orchards, Sugar Hill U-Pick Farms and Patterson Farms.

“It has been a down year for our peaches, but these next two or three weeks there will be some great peaches coming in,” McGriff said. “Even though it was a down year, it shows how great our farmers are.”