The Peach Peddler in Blairsville, Georgia
Mr. J.P. Southerland has sold peaches in Union County for over 35 years. He is a friendly man with a big smile. During peak season, usually July and August, he can be found under the shade tree beside United Community Bank's parking lot. His pick-up bed is piled high with baskets of the sweetest peaches money can buy. (You can smell their freshness when you drive by his truck.) The peaches are a great deal. He sells small baskets or a peck. A whole bushel goes for just $24.
Southerland used to sell door-to-door. The ladies in Union County bought them to can for the winter. Some families bought two or three bushels at a time.
Nothing is as pretty as jars of canned peaches lined up on a shelf. Nothing tastes as good either. In the cold of winter, a jar of peaches is like canned sunshine. Folks pour them over hot cornbread for a quick dessert.
Southerland says, "Now that gas prices are so high, I do better just to sit in one spot and let the customers come to me." Some days people line up to get peaches. People stand around and talk. It's a regular social event.
In 2005, Southerland sold over 15 truck loads of peaches! He hauled them from an orchard in Inman, South Carolina
Southerland says that the best way to eat a peach is sliced up in oatmeal. Talk about a healthy snack, just peel and slice. Raw peaches are low in calories and full of vitamins. Mouths begin to water at the smell of peach pie. Local citizens have been known to fight for the last bowl of peach cobbler. Some people in Blairsville, Georgia make home-made peach ice cream. It's a summer treat that can't be beat. If you missed Mr. Southerland in 2005, just look for him next summer. He says he'll be back in 2006.