Author Archives: quarryadmin

A High Season Thursday at 12:42am

tractorBEN’S BULLETIN

September 21, 2018 – 12:42 am

An email from Ben to his best pals, regarding his RSVP to his 40th birthday party in February 2019……. 

Gents-

So the sun has long since set here at the farm.  Its just me and the dogs here in the barn office.  Harvest is in full swing… the Gala crop has been picked.  Honeycrisp will be wrapped up by next week.  I usually end the day lining up our wholesale delivery trucks for tomorrow’s routes (that… along with a beer or two and a 3-minute break for a small cat nap on the desk…..). We’ll have 3 drivers rollin’ tomorrow AM.  With good weather leading into the weekend, we should see strong retail sales and plenty of folks coming out to pick their own apples.  All in all, the crop is looking good.  We will finally see good returns off of the trees Dad and I planted the first year I moved home.  Production should be the highest since my coming back.  Quality yet to be determined…

It is far too frequent during this time of year that I get swept up in the hustle of harvest.  This life Brooke and I have chosen has challenged us far beyond what I could have imagined.  Many-a-day I question whether my shoulders are broad enough to keep this thing going.  There is a constant juggle between managing a payroll of 35+ people, forecasting farm profitability (or lack thereof), making harvest & sales decisions… all while driving the forklift around our packhouse like a mad man.  I miss my wife.  I miss my kids.  I long for the tranquility of farm life that was the picture I painted for Brooke so many years ago.  But I don’t think tranquility is my nature.   

It is in these moments that leaving Austin, Texas seemed like a damned foolish idea.  Maybe because its human nature to look fondly on the past.  Maybe because I found confidence in engineering that just isn’t part of farming with Mother Nature.  Maybe because the co-workers I met in that town have turned out to be the most meaningful life-long friends.  For that last reason, this trip is gonna be epic.  I absolutely can’t wait to strap some boards on my feet and earn my turns in some of that fine “Champagne Powder” of Route County, Colorado!  After I help my wife settle into life with new baby #4 and life as a family of six – I’ll be on the plane headed Westbound to play hard.  See you Gents then.                                                                                                         -Ben-

 

Overwhelming Success at First Peach Fest!

Halle Snavely is a local food consultant and a writer. She documents the best of Northeast Ohio’s local farms through her Instagram account @oneingredientco. This is her first guest blog post for Quarry Hill Orchards.

“We already ran out of peach ice cream!” Brooke Gammie says as she greets me at the Quarry Hill Orchards Peaches and Cream Festival. It’s noon. The festival started at ten. Running out of ice cream that early tells me that it must be really good. Mason’s Creamery clearly knows what they’re doing. Brooke is busy mingling with guests and crafting the dwindling peach sorbet into a beautiful presentation that is garnished with sliced peaches, lavender buds and fresh mint leaves (garnishes courtesy of Executive Chef and friend Jamie Simpson of Culinary Vegetable Institute). I immediately become jealous that I have to photograph this work of art instead of eat it.

Vegan Peach Sorbet from Mason’s Creamery

This is the first Peaches and Cream festival at Quarry Hill, but Brooke says it’s an idea that the Gammie family has been marinating on for some time. “Bill has wanted to do an ice cream social for a while, but we haven’t had a good peach crop and I had my hands full last year with Beatrice, so I didn’t get around to it. Then I thought, ok, I gotta do it this year! And it just happened really organically. I swear 80% of the people I’ve talked to today have never been here before.”

Flower Crown Makers

It’s a heartwarming sight: kids covered from head to toe in ice cream, happy children making flower crowns, people shopping at Fancy Me Boutique, crying children and parents consoling them are peppered throughout the crowd (par for the course), adults of all ages are taking in the scene while eating black burgers and empanadas from The Goucho and The Gringa (who also ran out of these crowd favorites), and local musicians are serenading the crowd. The farm store is bustling with people lined up in all directions, stocking up on peaches, eating peach crepes from The Mad Batter Baking Company, and getting their hands on the latest Quarry Hill Orchards gear. (Side note: Quarry Hill’s gear is seriously legit. Any hipster or style maven would be proud to rock these t-shirts, a new collaboration with Unsalted Boutique.)

4th Gen Gammie Girls Payton and Beatrice

There is a Gammie in just about every direction I look. Even in the midst of the chaos, it’s clear from the genuine smiles on their faces that they’re really enjoying themselves. Life on the farm is always chaotic, but to see how seamlessly the Gammie’s blend work and play is a pretty good indication that they really love what they do. It truly is a family affair, and their greatest joy is being able to share their farm with others. In fact, this is what fuels their passion. Judging from the number of people who showed up, it seems their customers are feelin’ the love too.    

Caitlin Davis, who lives just down the road, recounts some of her Quarry Hill memories. “I grew up coming here, so I was not missing this! We come in the fall to the apple event, and we’ll actually be back at the winery tomorrow. There’s something special about it being family run. It just feels like home. Everyone is having a good time, kids are running around. You can’t beat that. I love it.”

Towards the end of the event, I had the chance to grab some food and interact with a few of the attendees. I met Roger and Nancy Wallace, fellow farmers and friends of the Gammie’s. They summed up the vibe pretty well. “It’s a nice family farm. There’s nothing better than to let people experience this.”

Brooke (center) with best pals Katie and Jess manning the ice cream tent (with their collective 9 kids helping out)

 

Did you attend the Peaches and Cream event?

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