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The Mexicans—thirty-two of them—wait for the pickup truck. They are dressed, almost to a man, in dirty jeans, boots, long sleeves, and baseball caps. Some wear bandannas to shield their necks and ears from legions of gnats. The rising late-summer sun is starting to cut through the morning mist that clings to the orchards and fallow pastures of Peach County like a thin coat of fuzz.
Five years ago, you would have had trouble finding Georgia’s most iconic fruit at a local farmers market. Peaches, like Vidalia onions, are usually grown on large commercial farms and distributed nationally through a system that gives little preference to local retail outlets.
A warning to peach fans: You'd better stock up now. Pearson Farm, by far the largest supplier of local peaches to Atlanta farmers markets, is winding down for the season. Its last peaches destined for Atlanta-area farmers markets are on their way.
I was lucky enough to participate in the judging of a peach cobbler contest last week, and now I’d like to share my good fortune with you. The July 3 contest at Grant Park Farmers Market was part of Peach Jam, a two-market celebration of Georgia’s most esteemed fruit. On June 30, East Atlanta Village Farmers Market held a peach cocktail contest. Both markets featured peach-themed kid activities, chef demos, snacks, and a guy wearing a peach suit.