Hey Sparkles! Happy Friday! For today’s Family Friday blog post, I am writing about a fun field trip I made with my family. We went to Lane Packing Orchards in Fort Valley, GA, and did a peach tour in the packing shed.
Then vs. now – the 1960s
- Today, as in the 1960s, peaches are hand-picked. In the 1960s, peaches were placed in one-bushel wooden crates and carried by truck to the packing shed. Today they are loaded into 18-bushel plastic bins and pulled by tractor or truck to the packing shed.
- They go straight from the field into the hydro cooler in plastic bins. The fruits are dried later in the process to prolong shelf life.
- Not much has changed since the 1960s. All grading is done by hand as the peaches roll down conveyor belts to be inspected. Lighting over the line is much improved.
- The peach variety name and size were stamped on the package. Today, labeling is done electronically in conjunction with automatic fillers.
- Sizing of peaches is now done electronically by weight compared to the 1960s when peaches were sized visually and hand selected.
- Containers are filled, leveled, and covered. Forty years ago, peaches were packed in round wooden baskets but are now packed in cardboard boxes.
- Moving peaches from the packing line to the loading dock was done by hand carts vs. the forklifts of today. Five boxes could be carried by hand truck using the old method and 70 are loaded per pallet today.
- Peaches in the 1960s were traditionally hand loaded from the hydro cooler into refrigerated rail cars to be taken to market. Today forklifts load pallets with 70 boxes of peaches at a time into refrigerated trucks.
- Very few packing houses did much retail business in the 1960s. Traditionally the peach business was a wholesale business. Today’s peach growers welcome travelers and are more involved in the retail end of the peach business.
Well, that’s all for today, Sparkles. Sorry, this is late. I accidentally had it scheduled for next week instead of this one. I thought this peach tour was fun and educational. Thanks for reading, and Sparkles away!