Running this successful food shop is a year-round process with an “all hands on deck” mentality by the Gray family, the founders of Peach Park. Each member has a key role in making it a successful family business that has a unique focus on quality and tradition. From fruit and nuts, to cotton and vegetables, the South is flooded with local farmers eager to share their home-grown product with travelers coming from near and far. Located off of Interstate 65, Peach Park is the perfect place to stop to get the full experience of Southern hospitality and its famous foods.
What began as a simple and small peach stand quickly grew into hotspot for travelers to stop, taste and buy all things peaches. Walking around Peach Park, you’ll not only find hand-picked peaches, but also peach salad dressings, peach barbeque sauce, peach preserves, peach salsa, peach pies and their peach ice cream, which is the most famous.
Titled as one of “USA’s best ice cream in 50 states” by Great American Bites, families make it a part of their vacation tradition to stop both on the way to the beach and on the way back home to get their peach ice cream fix. The secret family recipe is kept closely by Frances Gray, who works hard to keep up with the 10,000 gallon demand each year.
Frances also oversees all of their baked goods, ranging from cakes to her coveted divinity. Divinity, a homemade candy known throughout the South, is generally made with egg whites, corn syrup and sugar. Though her recipe is only shared with a select few, this candy takes a special touch to make correctly. The other ladies who work to prepare all of their sweet treats claim that no one can get the divinity as perfect as Ms. Frances can.
Peach Park provides families a place to stop and rest with the open-air market feel, rocking chairs and tables, as well as delicious lunch options. Since starting their business in 1985, the Gray family has strived to provide their generations of customers with friendly service and tasty treats for everyone. Co-family owner, Alan Hathcock, said that Peach Park is built on tradition. “We have generations of families that have been coming to us for years, he said. We’ve had customers tell us they started stopping here when they were nine years old, and now they bring their children here.”
Hathcock also explains their constant goal is to provide a clean and restful place with quality products for families to enjoy on their travels.
In addition to peach products, Peach Park sells vegetables, an array of other preserves and dressings, nuts, candy, and baked goods. Peach Park opens each year in the beginning of March and closes in November. During the winter months, they continue to sell their peach ice cream and barbeque in the Texaco gas station that they opened up right next to Peach Park so people can enjoy it year-round. The busiest time of the year is the summer, right after they pick the peach crop in mid-May from their 8,000 peach trees spread across Chilton County. Each peach is hand-picked from one of their several orchards and inspected before it is sold or used for their numerous peach products. This quality has been the heart of the Gray family and kept travelers returning for years to experience the taste and hospitality of the South.