Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Georgia On My Mind, Part 12

Just outside Blue Ridge, Georgia is the Mercier Orchards. Quoting their website — "Mercier Orchards is a family owned and operated apple orchard now in its 4th generation. Started back in 1943 by Bill & Adele Mercier, Mercier Orchards is now celebrating 70 years of fruitful harvest! The combination of our U-PICK events, Bakery & Deli, Market Store, and now our Farm Winery makes us a great choice for a day trip by yourself or with the family! Spend the day experiencing what makes us unique! We're constantly improving our products and our store to give you the best experience that we can possibly offer."

Since we were visiting in April, strawberries, not apples, were in season. I wish you could taste them — they were yummy.

Another delicacy, wildflower honey. I have tried many varieties of honey — and as many of you know, the type of pollen does make a difference in the taste of the honey (have you ever tried my favorite, orange blossom honey?). I did not have an opportunity to sample this variety — maybe next trip.

Georgia = peaches, n'est-pas? So where else would one look for peach preserves? And of course, anything made with peaches is heavenly. I wonder if they offer fresh peach ice cream — I did not notice any — so hard to find but so wonderful if you do.

In the middle of the sales floor was this Ford 801 Powermaster Tractor. They did not know the year but thought it was around 1957 to 1959 — the sign actually asks if anyone knows and to share that information with the family.

Oh and apple cider — love it!!!

In the back of the sales floor was the apple processing line. Since this was not apple season, all the stations were shut down and covered. It would be interesting to visit when they are busy.

Off to one side was their bar featuring their own hard cider as well as wine and other beverages.

Here is a retired 1931 Ford Model A Huckster which is now being used as a display stand for a variety of their products. I do find it surprising that they had to post a sign telling parents that kids are not allowed to play on the truck. I would think that would be a no-brainer — but I guess not.

Out back are the apple orchards. They grow some 37 varieties of apples including many of my favorites such as Honeycrisp and Pink Lady.

More orchards and a small lake. During the fruit-bearing season, Mercier Orchards offers U-Pick days (generally weekends only). They even have a list of tips on their website — many are common sense like "wear sunscreen" and "bring insect repellent". The one I found interesting was that they will give you a tractor ride to the orchard that is available for picking yourself. One more thing to add to the bucket list for the next visit to Georgia.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com