Clanton is best known for its peaches! The sweet fruit attracts thousands from May to September.
Local farmers are hoping their young, beautiful peaches get a chance to grow.
Mention peaches in Chilton County, and the name Bentley Peaches is bound to come up. Thorsby Mayor, Tom Bentley is the owner. He says, "We have grown other things, sweet potato's for a lot of years, we have grown bell peppers and different things." But peaches is how they make their money.
Tom Bentley has 300 acres of peach trees, and he has been growing them since 1939. Bentley says, "We're proud of Chilton County. We are proud of our peaches." With peach picking season right around the corner, soon his picking crew will begin the hand process of thinning. They will pick smaller peaches off the branches to make way for large, firm sweet peaches.
Bentley says, "We want to leave the largest peaches and we want to leave about 400 peaches to the tree." Bentley says their biggest problem is the weather. Last year, hail wiped out most of their crop. He says, "We picked about 10 percent of the crop we didn't pick a peach out of this orchard for 5 and a half weeks." This year, they are looking forward to better weather and a better crop.
Bentley says Chilton County has some of the best peaches in the country, but don't take his word for it, he's almost sure any customer will agree. Bentley says, "Just give them one of each and I wouldn't tell them which one it was, and I bet they'd pick the Chilton County peach."
Georgia is known as the peach state, but it doesn't grow the most. Federal officials say California is number one, producing 5.5 million tons a year.