Plant City may consider strawberries its most beloved fruit, but residents proved Tuesday afternoon the Georgia peach holds a special place in its heart.
It’s not every day The Peach Truck comes to town. When the company announced the beloved truck was headed to Plant City, the response was immediate. A full hour before it was set to arrive, folks lined up outside the doors of Tractor Supply Co., where the event was scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. By 1:30, the line was near the edge of the building and employees had to help wrap the eager attendees down the side of the shopping plaza.
A forklift carried dozens of 25-pound boxes filled with the sweet fruit to the entrance of the store, where folks were given tips on how long to wait before they began eating the peaches and were encouraged to purchase The Peach Truck Cookbook for creative ideas on how to put those crates of fruit to use.
The Peach Truck sprang to life after Stephen Rose moved to Nashville in 2010 and realized there was no one in the area selling fresh Georgia peaches. He went back to Fort Valley, Georgia, his hometown, in 2012 with his wife Jessica and their 1964 Jeep. They partnered with his hometown farm, loaded the Jeep to capacity and began to sell the peaches back in Nashville. Five weeks later, more than 10 tons of their bagged peaches were consumed and The Peach Truck was born.
It’s now been altered to bright orange semi trucks filled to the brim with 25-pound boxes of the fruit. Customers from all over the United States are visited by trucks on the tour during peach season, and Plant City was fortunate enough to have been selected as one of its stops.
Once the line started wrapping around the building Tuesday, the rain clouds rolled in. People rushed back to their cars to grab umbrellas while their friends held their spots in line, but luckily, outside of a few sprinkles, the rain clouds continued to move on. Fresh peaches were handed out to attendees for them to try and Plant Citians were even introduced to a “clothes saving technique:” The Peach Dance.
Georgia peaches are filled with sweet juice. The riper they are, the more juice they have. They joked you could stick a straw in a fresh peach and suck the peach juice right out like it was a beverage. Unfortunately, dripping fruit can be difficult to manage, thus the Peach Dance was born. The steps are simple: slightly bend your knees, lean over as far as you can, bite into the fresh fruit and add a shimmy for some flair. The juice hits the dirt and not your blouse and you don’t have to start wearing bibs.
Right before 2 p.m., some of the employees of The Peach Truck began to walk the line, taking people’s orders and having them pay in advance to streamline the process. One 25-pound box of peaches, which costs $42, equals one peach token. For $10 you get a token for a bag of pecans. When the line started moving, people simply exchanged their tokens for the produce.
Soon, buggies filled with boxes were rolled out to their cars and waiting vehicles spirited the fresh fruit back home. Though The Peach Truck was on a tight deadline, the line continued to grow.
Several attendees said, hopefully with the obvious interest, Plant City will become a permanent destination for the yearly tour.