Chilton County, Ala., goes wild for peaches during the annual Peach Festival.
Georgia may be known as the peach state, but residents of Chilton County, Alabama claim other wise.
Chilton County’s mild winters and warm summers make it a perfect location for growing the sweet fruit. Today, Chilton County (south of Brimingham) is Alabama’s largest peach-producing region, with orchards covering about 10,000 acres. It’s also home to the Peach Festival, going strong since June 1947.
One of the most popular festival events of the festival is the cook-off. “Most people make pies, cobblers or other desserts, but any dish using fresh peaches is OK,” says Gay West, country extension coordinator at the Chilton County Office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, which sponsors the event.
To buy some of the county’s best peaches, festival goers attend the Peach Auction in Jack Hayes Park, where growers display and sell their produce in half-bushel baskets and then donate the proceeds to community programs and scholarship funds. That’s a peach of a deal for everyone around.
Almond-scented sweet peaches with a buttery pastry crust.
Give fresh peaches take a quick turn in the oven and serve as a side dish or a savory dessert.