HALL COUNTY, Ga — Drew Echols wouldn’t have been running a forklift Friday had it not been for his “Nanny.”
“My grandmother, she told me--- she was all things fall,” Echols said to Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen.
Valvoreth Echols loved pumpkins. That’s part of the reason why a farm best known for peaches has diversified, and customers love it.
“Absolutely! What is Halloween, what is October, without pumpkins?,” customer Jennifer Greene said.
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Not that many years ago, Jaemor Farms would plant no more than five acres worth of pumpkins. This year, it’s 150 acres. That’s enough to fill 3,000 very large bins, each holding between 30 and 70 pumpkins.
Echols says he’ll sell every one of them.
He doubled the size of his crew to handle the harvest. The pumpkins will be shipped up to New York, down to Miami, and to several other East Coast cities in between.
All the pumpkins used to come from the northern states, but now a growing number of Georgia growers are getting in on growing them.
So when a late spring freeze destroys a North Georgia peach or apple crop, as it did in 2021, Echols says pumpkins can keep you in business.
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He says his Nanny was on to something.
“Did we ever really want to be in the pumpkins business? No. That’s not what we set out to do. Now we’re filling a niche here in the Southeast,” Echols said.
Echols says this all goes hand-in-hand with what is called agritourism, which the state is encouraging. A lot of Georgia farms hold fall festivals now.
Jaemor’s Harvest Celebration starts Sept. 10.
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