Reeves Peach Farm: A Legacy of Fresh, Tree-Ripened Peaches
Discover the rich history of Reeves Peach Farm, settled in 1835 by Thomas "Jack" Reeves near Hartselle, Alabama. From humble beginnings farming cotton, corn, and vegetables for their own consumption, the farm's legacy has evolved into something extraordinary.
Reeves Peach Farm is an operation is North Alabama, that produces and sells large varieties of crops, with a special focus on peaches. Mike Reeves, owner of the farm, runs the business with his sons, where they carry on a legacy that is now 5 generations deep. Their farm has not always been in the fruit production business. In 1950, Mike’s great grandfather and his sons grew some watermelons and proudly sold them under the shade of oak trees to neighbors and passersby along Highway 36. As this took off, Mike’s dad and grandaddy built a fruit stand in 1959, where they introduced many other fruits, including their infamous peaches. This is just the start of what would become a well-known, successful operation.
The farm operates on 160 acres, with 25 dedicated to peaches. Although peaches are their trademark, the farm is continually adding more value with other commodities. This spans from ice-cream to pies to salsa and more. All these products find ways to include their tree-ripened peaches.
From May to September, they rotate different varieties of peaches. Instead of picking all the peaches at once, they will wait until they are ripe on the tree. “When selecting peaches, we look for the right color - my dad always said to go for the biggest and reddest ones,” Reeves said. Through a thinning process, the farm removes 90% of the peaches from the tree and leave around 400 hanging. This is because too much weight can bog down the tree and affect the next year’s crop. Since there can be 30 buds on just one limb, they strategically leave only 2 buds on each limb – an investment in next year’s yield.
When they built and moved into their new building in 2020, they included a kitchen and restaurant. This only further expanded their footprint, and they now offer a full menu for guests to enjoy on site; the most notable of which is their peach wood smoked Barbeque. Peach trees must be replaced every 15 to 16 years, so instead of burning the brush they have found new ways to utilize these peaches through the restaurant.
“It’s a way of life, a good lifestyle. From an overall look at growing food locally, I think it is important that folks know where their food comes from. I’m retired supposedly, but I’m having so much fun that I just want to continue to get up and enjoy all of it that I can,” Reeves said.
This has proven to be a work of love with the way it has flourished over the years.
“Alabama Farm Credit was the clear choice for our loan, providing constant support and communication throughout the process,” Reeves said. Reeves goes on to outline that Alabama Farm Credit has made borrowing easy and accessible, always available to respond promptly to calls or texts.
Our partnership with Reeves Peach Farm began in 2019 when they built the building that they operate out of today. Being a part of watching this operation grow has been rewarding, but also, we share in those successes when we see our borrowers create and maintain sustainable operations.
“Working with AFC has been hassle-free, with minimal bureaucracy. Additionally, the annual dividend from AFC adds to our sense of being involved in the operation, and we eagerly anticipate its return each year,” Reeves said.
Mike Reeves and his team set continuous goals of what they want to provide and how they want to be known in the community. Typically, it involves providing a high-quality product to their customers, and giving them the opportunity to get something they can’t get anywhere else. “You can get peaches anywhere, but you can’t get tree-ripened peaches just anywhere. Most people haven’t tasted a tree ripened peach,” Reeves said.
The farm offers tours and “you pick” activities to get the community involved and educated on where their food is coming from. Reeves Peach Farm is a long-standing member of this community, with roots running deeper every year.
You can visit Reeves Peach Farm in Hartselle, Alabama at 336 Hwy 36E, Hartselle, AL 35640. Follow them on Facebook at Reeves Peach Farm to stay in the know on all the exciting new things happening on the farm.