Fresh peaches and the best peach ice cream in Texas. (Photography by Nancy Nichols)

Peach Porn: Head to Ham Orchards Before the End of the Season

The peach harvest this year has been phenomenal. Head out to Ham Orchards this weekend and see for yourself. Go early and get in line for Eddie Deen’s barbecue. Then grab a rocking chair and enjoy a cup of soft swirl peach ice cream. (Or strawberry. It’s a jump ball on which is better.) I came home with a bushel of peaches

Several weeks ago, I headed out to Ham Orchards and spent the day with owner Dale Ham. If you haven’t made the short drive east of Terrell, do so in the next few weeks. Dale claims this year has been the best harvest ever for peaches he’s ever seen. He has 100 acres of more than 35 varieties.

Dale and Judy Ham started this peach farm with 50 trees in 1979. The store has grown and so has the orchard. They now have over 100 acres.
Dale and Judy Ham started this peach farm with 50 trees in 1979. The store has grown and so has the orchard. They now have over 100 acres.
WJNPHOTO

Go early and get in line for Eddie Deen’s barbecue. Then grab a rocking chair and enjoy a cup of soft swirl peach ice cream. (Or strawberry. It’s a jump ball on which is better.) I came home with a bushel of peaches. Some I ate, some I gave away, others I froze. The store has a huge variety of jams, jellies, butters, chutney, peach salsa, and ciders. The bakery offers pies, cobblers, breads, and fried pies. Take a cooler and load up.

Here are some photos I snapped to get you primed.

The key to a long peach growing season is to plant as many varieties as possible. This ensures that one or two varieties are ready for harvest every few weeks.
The key to a long peach growing season is to plant as many varieties as possible. This ensures that one or two varieties are ready for harvest every few weeks.

Rows of peaches are marked by variety.
Rows of peaches are marked by variety.
WJNPHOTO

 

On this day, the beautiful Bounty peach trees were ready for picking.
On this day, the beautiful Bounty peach trees were ready for picking.
WJNPHOTO

 

Dale Ham and Eddie Deen have created a fantasy day trip for food lovers.
Dale Ham and Eddie Deen have created a fantasy day trip for food lovers.
WJNPHOTO
Eddie Deen's array of barbecued meats.
Eddie Deen’s array of barbecued meats.
Bret Redman
The bakery works almost non-stop to keep up with the demand for pies.
The bakery works almost non-stop to keep up with the demand for pies.
WJNPHOTO
Dale teaches me the fine art of picking peaches.
Dale teaches me the fine art of picking peaches.
Bret Redman
Half of my haul!
Half of my haul!
Bret Redman

Full Disclosure: Dale Ham and his family welcomed me to tour their facility and pick my own peaches for a story I am printing next spring. Ham Orchards is not a pick-your-own peaches facility. They do all of the hard work for you. Here’s a link for directions.

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