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July 2014 Country Kitchen
Few things welcome the sweet taste of summer better than a farm-fresh peach, and there aren’t many farmers who grow the fuzzy fruit better than Jimmie and Alice Faye Harrison of Chilton County.
The couple has grown and sold fruits and vegetables together for 55 years. He grew up farming. She was a city girl.
“I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” Alice Faye said.
Even though farm life was an adjustment at first, Alice Faye said she grew to cherish her role on the farm. She helped in the fields for many years but now runs the family’s produce stand from 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. daily. This time of year, it’s all about Chilton County’s famous peaches.
The main ingredient for their farm’s success is simple, Alice Faye said, “He just loves doing it.”
And as much as Jimmie enjoys farming, Alice Faye enjoys serving customers.
“I like meeting the people,” she says. “Jimmie’s dad started this stand back in the ‘50s, and some of the customers came as kids and are now bringing their kids. We have customers who come year after year, and you get to know them.”
Alice Faye enjoys cooking, but during this busy time of year, she makes a lot of sandwiches.
During peach season, she enjoys making pound cake and topping it with sweet, ripe peaches. In the winter, she makes an easy cobbler with frozen peaches. No matter what, she and her family — Jimmie, their four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren — prefer the familiarity of country cooking.
“I’m just a country cook,” she said. “We always have a meat, a couple of vegetables, a salad and cornbread — always cornbread.”
As a peach-cooking expert, Alice Faye has some valuable selection and storage tips.
“We like to have good, firm peaches,” Alice Faye said. “They should be ripe, but still firm.”
To store peaches, she prefers freezing over canning.
“I just cut them up and mix a quart of peaches with a cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves,” she said. “Then, I put them in zip-top freezer bags and store them in the freezer for winter.”
This month’s Country Kitchen shares Alice Faye’s famous, family-pleasing peach cobbler recipe plus some more unusual ways to make the most of the summertime favorite.