• Abigail Hall

Peaches return to Wichita with first annual peach fest, peach picking

Originally published by Wichita Eagle, August 2, 2019.

Peaches are back, Wichita — and they’re better than ever, farmers say.

Scott Beck of Beck Farm has been in the peach business running the 4th-generation family farm in Newton since the 1990s and said his peaches have never looked better.

In 2017, Beck Farm was forced to close after a cold spring froze the plants. When the same thing happened in 2018, Beck thought he was going to retire, he said.

But after 20 inches of rain in the past few months, Beck’s peaches are back in full bloom.

“This is the best harvest I’ve seen in 20 years,” Beck said.

In south Wichita, Jeff and Jessica Blood of Blood Orchard are celebrating their successful crop with their first annual peach fest.

In the 1950s, Blood Orchard had “peach trees as far as you could see,” Jessica Blood said.

But in the ‘80s groundwater contamination wiped out all of the trees, leaving devastation in its wake, Blood said. Since then, the Bloods have worked to bring peaches back to Wichita, and in 2017 they were successful.

In 2018 a cold spring wiped out the crop, but this season was once again plentiful, leaving the orchard overflowing with peaches just in time for its first peach fest, Jessica Blood said.

As long as the weather continues to work in their favor, the Bloods hope to make peach fest an annual event, Jessica Blood said.

The first Saturday of every month Jeff and Jessica Blood host a vintage market and food truck rally at their vintage shop ReBorn Boutique and Marketplace on the Blood family property in south Wichita.

“We have a few hundred of our closest friends come out every month,” Jessica Blood said. “(They) visit and shop and eat and hang out.”

The market and food truck rally will proceed as usual — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with food trucks open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — with a peach theme.

Market-goers can buy the Bloods’ yellow freestone peach varieties while playing yard games, listening to music, and enjoying local food trucks and vendors with vintage and hand-made items.

Peaches cost $6 for two and a half pounds and $9 for three and a half pounds.

The market will have favorite vendors such as Charlotte’s Breads and Fudges and Gigi’s Honey Bees, and popular food trucks — Big Chill, Brown Box Bakery, Consuelo Street Grill, Espresso Self, Funky Monkey Munchies, Mimi’s Eskimo Snow and Smokin Diner.

Espresso Self will open at 9 a.m. while the remaining food trucks will open at 11 a.m.

All the food vendors will also prepare a special peach-themed dish for a “best peach dish” competition.

“Come spend your day with us,” Jessica Blood said. “Eat, shop, repeat — eat some more and shop some more.”

Blood Orchard is open for peach sales by appointment and announcement on its Facebook page. The family orchard is located at 6346 S. Broadway, Wichita.

If you’re still in the mood for peaches, head over to Beck Farm in Newton where you can pick your own peaches.

The Becks charge $25 for a two-gallon basket and will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They are also open during the week by appointment, which can be reserved by calling 316-282-2325.

Beck Farm is located at 7620 S. Anderson Rd., Newton.

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