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.
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.”
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 bean 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.)
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.”
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