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A Trip to Lane Southern Orchards

lane southern orchard 2

This week I had the opportunity to get a behind the scenes tour of the Lane Family Southern Orchards peach orchard thanks to my being a part of the Walmart Moms program.  The Lane’s peach Orchard is a fifth generation family operation that is located in Fort Valley, Georgia, just a few hours south of my own home.

The reason I was asked out to the Lane Family’s Orchard was for a media event where the owners of Lane’s and the VP of Walmart’s produce and floral departments, Dorn Wenninger, could discuss their partnership with the press. {I felt mighty important getting be a part of the “press.”}.


I had a wonderful time at the orchard – it was very similar to other orchards I have visited.  It was right up my alley, as I love to visit local orchards and farms – I like to see where my food comes from, and shake the hands that grow it. :)   I learned so much too!  Duke Lane’s family grows 2300 acres of peaches and acres more of other things – another large crop being their pecans.


Duke Lane, the fifth generation to own Lane Southern Orchard was very helpful in explaining the daily operations at the orchard.  We took a little bus out into one part of the orchard and I got to see the trees up close.  Mr. Hernandez explained that the life cycle of a peach tree was about 15 years, at which point the tree begins to produce less fruit and/or smaller fruit and is no longer really “fruitful.”  I was fascinated to learn about all the varieties that they grow – both clings and freestone peaches.  Mr. Lane eplained that there really isn’t a freestone variety, it is more a characteristic of many varieties of peaches.  Freestone just describes the way that the peach can easily be pulled away from the pit.  It is the peach that is more preferred by home canners since it is easier to work with.

lane orchards at walmart

After we got to see the orchard, we went back to the little market where visitors can come in a buy peaches among other things like peach jams, bbq sauces, and other items that the orchard grows or prepares, like pecans, cobblers, and breads. In the back of the market we toured the packing facility where peaches are trucked in, sorted, boxed up to head straight to the stores.

lane southern orchard packing facility

I was amazed when Mr. Lane said they could pick peaches and have them in the Walmart where I shop in less than 24 hours.  And, I might even have those very peaches in my oven baking in a cobbler in under 48 hours!  Isn’t that amazing?

lane orchard packing facility

Lane’s family has been selling their peaches to Walmart since 1997 and a large portion of those peaches are sold in local Walmart stores in Georgia and surrounding states.  This partnership is just one of many Walmart has forged in order to fulfill their promise to customers to bring them more local, fresh produce.  Not only is it better for them – allowing them to ship product shorter distances – saving money and resources, it is also better for us – the consumer.  We get a better quality product that has been handled far fewer times and has traveled a lot less distance to our tables. In Georgia alone, Walmart has sold more than $19 million of Georgia grown produce.

I asked Mr. Wenninger about how these local grower relationships start.  He said his buyers find local growers and build relationships and help them to reach the size they need to be to be able to sell the volume that Walmart sells.  Other times, they work with local farmers to grow the products that they need to sell locally.  Mr. Wenninger told me a funny and heartwarming story of a local Alabama farmer who did not understand the magnitude of the partnership with Walmart.  I had to get it on video for you so you could hear it:

Isn’t that a great story!  You can really see Mr. Wenninger’s passion for fresh foods and putting them into the hands of the customer and building relationships that help the grower when he tells it too!

My trip to the orchard ended with a big bowl of peach cobbler topped with peach ice cream at the Lane’s orchard restaurant {right inside the little farmer’s market}.  I just about hurt myself on what they called a “small” bowl of cobbler!  Before making the drive back I bought a case of peaches from the Lanes’, because I had already been warned that I was not to return home without bearing gifts of freshly picked peaches.

I can’t wait to enjoy them – in all their drippy deliciousness!  How do you like to enjoy fresh picked peaches?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I’m a participant in the Walmart Moms Program. Walmart has provided me with a product sample and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. Participation in this program is voluntary and the opinions stated above are entirely my own.


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  1. We love peaches! So fun that you got to see it all in action!

  2. can’t wait to taste some delicious peach creations at the Sawyer house.

  3. Love peaches but need to be org because skin is thin but glad to know they r local.

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