Southern Agenda

Bite Out of History

Next time you eat a sweet Georgia peach, thank a boll weevil. In 1915, the tiny beetles arrived in the state, slamming the cotton industry and opening a door for Georgia farmers to experiment with peach crops—and in time, earn the state’s moniker. The aptly named Belle of Georgia, with soft and striking white-and-red fruit, was one of the most popular commercial peaches until hardier, more shippable varieties took hold. But Belle still thrives in backyard gardens and at small farms, including at Southern Belle Farm in McDonough, which grows fourteen additional varieties across its eighteen acres. The farm’s u-pick peach season opens after Memorial Day and lasts until mid-July. “We keep the season short and sweet,” says chief operating officer Daniel Welliver, “with staggered peach varieties that come in right on top of each other so anyone can find their favorite and plan accordingly.”