1) What is the difference between cling, semi-free, and free stone? The terms cling, semi-free, and free stone refer to how the flesh separates from the pit (or stone) of the peach. When a peach is clingstone, the flesh of the peach is not easily removed from the pit (it “clings” to the pit). When a peach is freestone, the flesh can easily be removed by hand; the flesh may even fall off the pit if the peach is fully ripe. Freestone peaches are popular for home canning because of their ease of preparation. Semi-freestone peaches are a hybrid variety with “cling” features somewhere in between.
2) When can I get freestone peaches? During a normal season, clingstone, semi-free, and freestone peaches ripen and are available in the order they are listed. Clingstone peaches are the first ones we pick. Their season usually runs from late May until the middle of June. Semi-freestone peaches are generally available from mid June until the middle of July and freestone peaches are available from late July until the middle of August. However, each season depends on the weather – if we have a warm spring, peaches generally produce earlier – if we have a cool spring, peaches generally produce later.
3) What is the difference between yellow peaches and white peaches? Yellow peaches have yellow flesh; white peaches have white flesh. Because white peaches have lower acid levels and higher sugar levels, they also have a slightly sweeter taste. White peaches ripen faster, are more fragile and bruise easier. For this reason, McLeod Farms does not ship white peaches. The peaches stocked by most grocery stores have yellow flesh.
4) Why are some varieties available for shipment and other varieties not available for shipment? We do not ship some varieties because they are more fragile, and bruise more easily. These varieties (especially all white peach varieties) while excellent to sell in our market or for short distance travel, cannot endure the temperatures inside a delivery truck nor can they withstand the jostling that may occur in transit. The peaches we ship to you are the highest quality of peaches available. When you order our peaches, we want you to open a perfect box of peaches.
Additionally, weather conditions dictate which peaches we have available for shipment. We occasionally have one or two orchards that will be damaged by late winter or early spring frosts. While we do our best to protect our orchards from frost and hail damage, we cannot prevent all damage. When significant damages occur, we may have a limited number of certain varieties of peaches available for shipment.
5) I ordered Cary Mac peaches around the end of June. Can I buy another box of Cary Macs for the beginning of August? Unfortunately, no. Each peach variety only lasts around two weeks. This means if we start harvesting and shipping Cary Macs the last week of June, then we will complete harvest and shipping of Cary Macs around the second week in July.
6) I ordered Big Red peaches to be delivered on the first week of August. I noticed that the peaches I received were not Big Red. Why did you send me a different variety? When your order requests delivery during a specifed time period, we ship the peaches that are available. This means your requested shipping date OVERRIDES your desired peach variety. Please also note that if you specify a particular variety (with no substitution allowed) we will not ship your peaches until that variety is ready for harvest.
Just as the seasons vary for the type of peaches available (cling, semi-free, freestone), so do harvest dates for peach varieties. Although we give you approximate dates (predicted availability based on previous years) we cannot guarantee these dates. Weather conditions determine how fast or slow the peaches ripen in the fields. If you want a specific variety of peach, we will ship peaches as closely as possible to your requested delivery date. If you have a special event that requires delivery of your peaches during a specific time period, it is best that you not request a specific variety. All of the peach varieties that we ship are top quality peaches and we know that you will be satisfied with any variety you receive. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility regarding available peach varieties and shipping dates.
7) What are the different varieties of peaches that we ship?
|Cary Mac||Late June||Semi-Freestone|
|Blaze Prince||Late June||Semi-Freestone|
|Fire Prince||Early July||Freestone|
|Sun Prince||Late July||Freestone|
|Flame Prince||Late July||Freestone|
9) Do you have the Alberta variety? How about Georgia Bells? The Alberta and Georgia Bell are varieties of peaches that were popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. However, there are no longer any true Alberta and Georgia Bell peaches. All yellow freestone varieties are hybrids derived from Albertas. All of our white freestone varieties are hybrids derived from Georgia Bells.
9) Which peach is best for cooking? For freezing? For eating? All of our peaches are good for eating. The semi-free and freestone are the best peaches for cooking, freezing, and canning because the flesh of these peaches are easier to separate from the pit or stone.
10) Do you pick your peaches by hand? Yes, all of our peaches are picked by hand.
11) Do you allow the public to pick their own peaches? We do not allow the public to pick their own peaches. Since picking peaches involves working from a ladder and other hazards involved with outdoor work, our insurers do not allow this activity. We do, however, have tree-ripe peaches in our stands available for purchase.
12) How many acres of peaches do you have? We grow twenty varieties of peaches on 900 acres of sandy, loam soils.
13) Do you freeze your peaches? We do not process and freeze our peaches for retail sales. However, we do have recipe cards with excellent instructions for freezing our peaches.
14) What is a tree-ripe peach? A tree-ripe peach is a peach that is left on the tree until it is completely ripe. Tree-ripe peaches are available at our roadside market when we have an abundance of peaches or for special events. However, since tree-ripe peaches bruise easily, we do not ship them. We pick all of our peaches firm-ripe which means that we pick the peach when it is firm but it has a little give when you touch it. Therefore, the peaches you buy online, in our market, or in you local grocery store are generally firm-ripe.
15) When will you have strawberries? We usually begin to harvest strawberries at the end of March or the beginning of April.
16) Is your ice-cream homemade? Even though many people think our ice-cream is homemade, it is not. Our ice cream comes from a company called Deluxe located in Mooresville, NC. Deluxe churns their own butter, which makes the ice-cream sweet and creamy.
17) Do you bake your own pies, cakes, breads, etc. in your bakery? Yes! We bake our own pies, cakes, and breads in our bakery. These baked goods are made daily using the freshest fruits and other products.
18) Where do you have your jarred products processed? We have our jarred products processed in Tiger, GA at Hillside Orchard Farms Cannery. We deliver our products to the cannery and they process and package our fresh fruits and vegetables for us.