Peachy! Many markets open with peach season

It’s a big weekend for Atlanta-area farmers markets. Not just because several markets are opening for the season. But also because it’s the first big peach weekend.

Pearson Farm, the main source of Georgia peaches at area farmers markets, started packing fruit this year on May 9, its earliest on record. East Atlanta Farmers Market won the prize of the first peach stand of the season Thursday. At the market’s new location on Flat Shoals Avenue, local distributor John Short encountered a peach-hungry mob—incited by an announcement posted on Facebook.

“He took twice the boxes he thought he need, and he sold out of everything last night,” Pearson Farm partner Will McGehee told me Friday morning. That’s 40 cases, 1,200 pounds of peaches, already sold. But don’t worry; Short and his peachy sales team will be restocked with about 6,000 pounds of peaches for multiple markets this Saturday—and a new market’s debut on Sunday.

You can find Pearson peaches this Saturday at the season opening of Riverside Farmers Market in Roswell and Snellville Farmers Market, as well as Chamblee Tucker Farmers Market, Decatur Farmers Market, East Lake Farmers Market, Green Market at Piedmont Park, Marietta Square Farmers Market, and Sandy Springs Farmers Market. On Sunday, catch them at the debut of the Grant Park Farmers Market.

Next Tuesday (May 17) Pearson peaches will be at Farmers Atlanta Road Market in Smyrna and the season-opener of Whistle Stop Farmers Market in Norcross. Shorts plans to add even more markets soon.
Why are the peaches so early this year? McGehee says a cold winter coupled with a very warm spring has pushed many crops ahead of schedule by a week or more, including peaches. This variety’s early ripening characteristics help too, of course. It’s called Flavorich, or Rich May, and it features good size and flavor for the time of year as well as a gorgeous red color and a heart shape, McGehee says. So easy to love.

I’m afraid I’ve been caught a little off-guard. I’ve still got a large bag of sliced peaches in my freezer from the end of last season. Guess I’d better get eating … so I can go buy some more.

Image: John Short, metro Atlanta’s farmers market connection to Pearson Farm, at the end of last season. He and his team are back with more.