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Spring at McLeod Farms
Spring is the season for strawberries. This is the time of year where our spring fruit and vegetables begin to blossum and grow. Since we protect our strawberries fom the cold during winter months, our strawberries start ripening four weeks earlier than others — around the 15th of March. Because we provide this tender loving care - no matter what Sunday Easter falls on, you can have fresh strawberry shortcake for your Easter feast.
We cultivate fifteen acres of the sweetest, red strawberries in the Carolinas for your eating pleasure. You can buy our pre-picked strawberries at the McLeod Farms Market, or, if you want a little taste of the "farming life", we'll take you to our strawberry patch where you can pick your own! Our juicy strawberries are perfect for canning, jellies, cakes, pies, or straight out the basket. Strawberries are generally available from the middle of March until the end of May.
School children can also enjoy a fun and educational trip to our strawberry patch. Students get to pick their own berries, listen to a story, and learn about life on a farm. Afterwards, the children are treated to a sample of freshly picked and washed berries. For more information about our school field trips, check out our School Tours page.
Don't miss McLeod Farms annual Strawberry Festival. Events include free face painting, local entertainment, horse drawn carriage rides, a strawberry recipe contest, and other fun, family activities. For more information about our festivals and recipe contests, look on our Events page.
This is one of our most turbulent and unpredictable seasons. Our wind machines, overhead irrigation, and hail cannons help protect our crops from weather damage. When a spring frost threatens crops, wind machines circulate the air in our orchards, keeping the air temperature warmer which helps prevent frost from forming on the peach blossums. To protect our strawberries from late freezes, we keep our overhead irrigation running to create a thin layer of ice on the strawberry plants, which adds natural insulation from the cold air. Hail cannons protect our orchards from potential hail damage by emitting a sonic boom caused by an acetylene explosion. These sonic booms occur within the cannons every 5 seconds. The cannons look like metal megaphones aimed toward the sky. Since sound waves soften the hail stone - from a rock hard surface to an icy mush - little to no damage occurs to our crop. When weather forecasts indicate potential for unstable, stormy conditions, these machines are activated using pagers. Some people claim you can hear the cannons fifteen miles away.
During spring, we continue to prepare for the upcoming peach season as we prune and thin out the peach trees. Pruning and thinning promotes overall tree health and a more precisely controlled tree and fruit growth. Too little pruning causes the branches and fruit to become too heavy for the tree to support. This can cause branches to break during the summer when the tree is heavy with fruit. Not enough thinning will also cause the peaches to grow too small — some call these "knots." Our rule of thumb is more like a rule of hand — which is - there needs to be a hands-width of space in between each peach growing on the tree. This allows for maximum growth.
Summer at McLeod Farms
Summer — the Season for Peaches! Since 1916, McLeod Farms has produced mouth-watering Southern peaches right outside of McBee, SC. For four generations, the McLeod family has grown peaches in the Sandhills. The late Campbell McLeod shared his memories of selling peaches to people traveling on the railroad. According to Mr. McLeod, folks wouldn't even have to step off the train. Much like patrons of our modern-day drive-through windows, the travelers would roll down their window to buy peaches. Over the years, our farming operation has expanded and we have increased both the quantity and the variety of produce grown.
McLeod Farms harvests peaches from late May to the end of August. We grow over 22 varieties of the sweetest peaches you ever tasted during this season. Peaches are a low calorie fruit that is high in vitamins and fiber. We suggest eating them fresh for best taste and nutritional value. However, you can enjoy them in freshly made breads, pies, cobblers, and pastries at our great Roadside Market. We'll even top them off with your favorite ice-cream flavor. For our customers who wish to take a peachy treat home, we urge them to check out the our selection of jarred products. We send our peaches to a cannery in Georgia where they make Peach Preserves, Peach Cider, Peach Dessert Halves, Peach BBQ Sauce, and our famous Peach Salsa.
You will be amazed at the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available in our Roadside Market. Our Summer bounty includes fresh peaches, blackberries, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, lettuce, potatoes, eggplant, and many other summer fruits and vegetables.
Don't forget about our annual Peach Festival! This family friendly festival features free face painting, local entertainment, homemade peach ice-cream, a peach recipe contest, horse-drawn carriages, and other fun activities.
We are always open for the 4th of July. Celebrate the holiday with fresh peaches and ice-cream! Mcleod Farms also operates a retail outlet at the Pee Dee State Farmers Market in Florence on a seasonal basis and supports community events during the spring and summer months including the Taste of Hartsville and other local venues. Check out our Events page for more information about upcoming events.
For many local folks, summer months have them scratching their heads trying to figure out if what they are hearing is really thunder or if the hail cannons at McLeod Farms are "going off". Some of our most devastating thunder and hailstorms have occurred in the middle of the peach season. Our hail cannons help protect the fruit and tree during these months.
Remember, Mac's Pride Brand peaches may be shared with your friends, family, and/or business associates. Order our peaches online in tray packs of 20 or 40 each.Our famous McBee Peaches are available for shipping nationwide for the perfect Southern peach treat.
Fall at McLeod Farms
Fall is the season for preparation. Most people think that as the leaves change into brilliant autumn colors that the work on a farm slows down. Quite the contrary - this is the time of the year we begin to prepare for the the next crop of peaches, strawberries, blackberries, and seasonal vegetables. Every year we take out the old and plant new strawberries since the first year of growth for these plants are the most productive. Our strawberries and many vegetable beds are covered with special black plastic which prevents weed growth, holds water and nutrients in the ground, and allows for micro-management of these plants. Some of our our crop production areas may be left unplanted (fallow) while the remaining cropland areas are cultivated and planted to crops. Peach orchards are watered until November, when the trees go into a dormant state.
Fall is also a time for harvest - pumpkins, gourds, winter squash, collards, and turnips are all harvested in the fall. Our Roadside Market is filled with traditional Thanksgiving fruits and vegetables. If you've never tried our pumpkin roll, make sure you pick one up. Pumpkin pies, sweet potatoes pies, and pecan pies are also made fresh at our bakery. Our roadside market stays open through out the year. Of course we sell the vegetables that we grow on the farm, but we also make weekly trips to the State Farmers Market to provide our customers with a bountiful array of mountain apples, and bananas, as well as sweet, red, and white potatoes.... We also have pecans — unshelled or shelled. And our jarred products and gift baskets are always available! Our field crews are also very busy harvesting grains and other crops (corn, rye, wheat, brown top millet, milo, and sericea).
Crisp fall temperatures and the excitement of returning to school after summer breaks provide the ideal atmosphere for our Pumpkin Patch school field trips. These field trips are the perfect opportunity for children to experience farming first hand. Just in time for Halloween - come out and pick your own pumpkins from our "Pick Your Own" patch or buy one right off the shelf. Also, don't forget about the annual Fall Festival held on the Saturday before Halloween.
Winter at McLeod Farms
During the winter, we must admit, we do take things a bit slower — but we never stop! Weekly trips to the state farmer's market and our own winter vegetables keep our Roadside Market filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. We also sell shucked corn, shelled butter beans, and much more....
McLeod Farms is the perfect place to pick up your Holiday decorations, tree ornaments, and other holiday items. Don't let the time slip up on you - get your order in for custom made gift baskets or choose from our ready made baskets. Our bakery staff is always available to whip up any fresh holiday treat for you family gathering.
Collards, turnips, and black-eyed peas are a must for any New Year's celebration. Remember, green for dollars and peas for pennies.
Valentine's Day wouldn't be the same without some wonderful chocolate and caramel fudge from our Bakery. Or you might want to choose from our great selection of cakes and pies — our Red Velvet cake is our most popular cake in February!
Even though peaches will not be ready until June and our trees are in a dormant stage, much work needs to be done in preparation for the summer harvest. The painstakingly slow process of properly pruning our peach trees for optimum growth and productivity begins in January each year. Guess what - we are right back where we started - with Spring just around the corner. What's that they say about the Circle of Life?