Produce Bites is a consumer outreach website hosted by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. In order to show our readers how they can find ‘fun on the farm’ this spring and summer, we’ve decided to spotlight some of our member farms that are also agri-tourism destinations! Spend some time on the farm with your family this summer and eat Georgia grown fruits and vegetables.
Are you looking to try a tasty, juicy Georgia peach? If so, Lane Southern Orchards is your go-to place. This farm has been growing peaches for more than 100 years! They are located outside of Fort Valley, GA. – just a short five minute drive off of I-75 at exit 142.
This farm was originally founded in 1908 by the Lane’s great-grandfather, John David Duke, and was named Diamond Fruit Farm. When asked how the farm turned into an agri-tourism attraction, Wendy Barton said, “When the family built an office on the farm for the sales team to reach out to grocery stores and smaller shops, they kept getting a knock on the door from people wanting to buy peaches. They decided to hire a college student, get a picnic table and have the student handle the sales of the peaches to locals. It then progressed to four rocking chairs and a few more peach displays. When the peaches were graded every day, they decided to get an ice cream machine to offer ice cream to the locals and travelers that were stopping by every day. When Ms. Caroline Lane had 15 ice cream machines in her kitchen, she said it was time to build something here on the farm for the customers to enjoy the ice cream and other seasonal fruits. In 1990, the retail store was expanded to include the Peachtree Café, a gift shop and southern gourmet shop. We currently have 40 rocking chairs and welcome over 300,000 visitors a year.”
The farm now consists of 2,500 acres of peaches, 3,500 acres of pecans, six acres of strawberries and a special patch of muscadines, scuppernongs and kiwi. This agri-tourism attraction allows the public to pick their own produce throughout the year and take farm tours to learn how the produce goes from the field to the table.
Lane Southern Orchards is hosting an exciting upcoming event that you won’t want to miss – the Spring Fling! This event is set for April 23, 2016 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.. The Spring Fling is the farm’s way of welcoming springtime and visitors to the farm to pick strawberries at the beginning of the peak harvest season. Activities include: a play area for the kids, a scavenger hunt in the strawberry patch, face painting, live entertainment and a class teaching you how to make strawberry preserves. This is something the entire family will enjoy!
Other plans for the year include a Fourth of July picnic celebration and the Farm Fall Festival. The Fall Festival is in October and allows you the opportunity to visit the pumpkin patch and the five acre corn maze! Be sure to keep up with Lane Southern Orchards online to get details for these events.
This farm is a great location for nearly any affair! Children’s entertainment activities include the world’s tallest pinball machine, human hamster balls, bungee jump, Spider Mountain and many other supervised carnival games. There is enough to keep the children busy for an entire day; meanwhile, parents can relax in the shade under the pavilion while they watch their kids play. Lane Southern Orchards also specializes in company picnics, family fun days and corporate events.