It’s 6:45am and my alarm goes off. Most mornings I’d be weeping about the early start, but today I’m actually ready to hop out of bed.
I look at my phone and see that Justin Rearden of The Peach Truck has emailed me.
“Meet you at the Nashville Farmers Market at 8:30am.”
Nestled in the backdrop of high-rises from the Nashville skyline, the farmers market looks like a giant Victorian green house; with what reminds me of concrete grain silos to mark the entrance.
As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted with the delicious smells of a local pizza favorite, Bella Nashville, and B&C Market BBQ. The outdoor portion of the market is where you’ll find produce vendors, all sourced from local and regional farms around Nashville.
Walking around outside, there’s a sense of urgency in the air, as vendors work to set up their stands before the long morning ahead. Trucks are pulling up to deliver beautiful baskets of perfect red tomatoes, fresh corn, squash, and peppers. People are pulling handcarts around, and customers are beginning to walk the isles.
Watching the scene, it dawns on me that the Nashville Farmers Market is the perfect representation of local feeding local. Vendors rely heavily on the local economy to support their farms and businesses. In turn, customers rely on locally sourced ingredients to stay healthy.
As I’m talking to a local vendor I see Justin walk over to The Peach Truck’s stand and begin setting up the table. Justin runs the operations side of the business.
We introduce ourselves and instantly start chatting about the event and how he got involved with The Peach Truck.
I ask if this is his only gig. It is.
“That was one of the concepts behind Stephen and Jessica starting this business. They wanted to have that freedom.”
Stephen and Jessica Rose are the owners of The Peach Truck.
Justin explains that Stephen originally moved to Nashville for a job. Upon arriving, he noticed that he could not find a perfect peach anywhere in town. Seeing that he still had family in Georgia with a peach farm, he began selling his family’s Georgia peaches out of the back of an old beat-up pickup. The peaches were a hit, and the business quickly turned into a large operation that was able to support his vision of freedom.
They work their tails off throughout the late spring and summer and then have the fall, and winter to do as they please. For Justin and his wife, this usually involves traveling. He’s getting ready to take off for 6-weeks to Europe in a few days.
For Stephen and Jessica Rose, the owners, it’s about family this year. They have a two-year old daughter, Florence, and twins on the way.
It’s 8:15 now, and two more people show up to help. A local college-bound girl named Tori, who has been working the Farmers Market stand all summer, and Matt Niehoff – founder of the Nashville blog www.experiencenashville.com.
Matt was the person that connected Kasasa and The Peach Truck for this event. He runs his blog, posts delicious local food and cocktails on his Instagram, freelances as a digital marketer, and has been working The Peach Truck’s stands all summer.
As 8:30 nears, all of them begin loading up the bags of peaches. First off, these peaches are magnificent. Each one looks like it was picked for a photoshoot. No bruises, just deliciousness.
Each bag contains 6-7 peaches and sells for $8. You get a $1 discount if you buy two bags. And if you’re feeling extra peachy, you can buy a 25 lbs. box for $39.
Today, the first 100 are going for free as part of a promotion with Kasasa and a line has already formed. It’s clear that Nashvillians love them some peaches.
Despite it being a work day, Nashvillians show up in waves to get their hands on the last peaches of the season. In 2 days, The Peach Truck will close up shop for the season and their delicious peaches will be unavailable until late May of 2017.
This is serious.
Within 2 hours the 100 bags are gone. People happily accept the first bag and some immediately buy a second or third.
At one point, a gentleman comes up and buys 6 boxes. He explains that he bought 10 boxes yesterday. This is referred to as peach mania.
One thing that is immediately noticeable is how familial The Peach Truck’s staff is with each other and their customers.
There were a handful of times where customers showed up and immediately started joking around with the staff like they had been friends all along. First names are preferred and laughter is a must.
With me, the outsider armed with a camera, customers were quick to say, “Thank you so much for the free peaches,” shake my hand, and ask me what I have planned for my stay.
Towards the end of the morning, Jessica Rose stops by with her daughter. As I’m chatting with Jessica about the business, two-year old Florence wastes no time. She steals a peach from one of the boxes and immediately chomps into it.
All at once, as if we’re at a family barbeque, Jessica, the staff, and the customers burst into laughter.
There is something contagious about seeing a community support each other.
Watching a local business have such a clear impact on its customers is heart warming. But this relationship is not one-sided. Because of all that love The Peach Truck receives every summer, they strive to always do right by their customers.
This type of relationship brings communities together. Having a supportive community pushes everyone to live up to their fullest potential. A supportive community encourages those in it to pursue their dreams. You are able to lean each other when times get tough, and share the love when things are going great.
While the 2016 season has ended, if you’re able to find some last minute peaches The Peach Truck has a handful of mouth-watering recipes on their website.
Peach and Pork Kabobs? Yum.
You can keep up with The Peach Truck by following them on:
Keep up with Matt Niehoff and Experience Nashville on Instagram for all things food and drink related.