In 1897, Robert L. Dickey fell in love with Elberta. She was sweet but tough, with golden skin and rosy cheeks. Robert was so faithful to her, he planted 30 acres of land in just one variety, Elberta, the world’s most famous peach. The relationship took three full years to ripen, and the rest as they say, is history. Georgia’s history.
Robert L. “Mr. Bob” Dickey grew his relationship with Elberta from a small packinghouse built in 1900 that soon expanded to a second packinghouse that is as large as four train cars. The long, white building, constructed in 1936 from lumber hewn off of “Mr. Bob’s” land, is a prominent landmark in Musella, Georgia. Dickey Farms is home to Georgia’s oldest continuously operating peach packinghouse.
“Mr. Bob” was an early pioneer of “multi-tasking.” He was a postmaster, undertaker, depot agent and general store manager. However, his heart belonged to Elberta, and Dickey Farms continues to benefit from that relationship today.
In the early days of Dickey Farms, mules were used to both plow the orchards and transport peaches to the packinghouse. At that time, most of the work was done manually. However, “Mr. Bob” was a forward-thinker, always wanting to introduce labor-saving equipment. He installed Georgia’s very first brushing machine to remove the peach fuzz. He was also one of the first producers to include a hydro-cooling system that places peaches in 35 degree water to remove field dust and slow the ripening process, making them perfect when reaching the northern markets.
The love affair with Elberta and Dickey Farms has lasted generations. Today, “Mr. Bob’s” grandson, Robert L. Dickey, II and great-grandson, Robert L. Dickey, III, work together to ensure that a Dickey Farms’ peach is the freshest, most succulent fruit available. While “Mr. Bob” shipped all his fruit by refrigerated railroad cars, peaches today are shipped by refrigerated trucks, which can reach some markets overnight. Although many changes in the industry have been made over the last 100 years, the Dickey family still continues the tradition of providing the highest quality peach.
Dickey Farms sets the standard for food safety. In 2003, Dickey Farms successfully completed the requirements of the Georgia GAP Food Safety Program, using a strict inventory control that enables us to trace our peaches from the store where it was purchased back to the field where it was picked. We are committed to providing all of our retail and wholesale customers with a high quality, safe product.
Dickey Farms is a member of the National Peach Council, Georgia Peach Council, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Crawford County Chamber of Commerce.
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