Conveniently located off of Hwy. 11-W, the orchard is easy to find and well marked with a Melody Orchard sign. This orchard, formerly a tobacco field, has been locally and privately owned for six years.
Manager for the past four years, Jerry Russell, stays busy taking care of the full time operation with approximately eight acres and 150 peach trees alone. In addition, there are blackberry, raspberries and blueberry bushes and eight varieties of apple trees.
The orchard is open for business the first of July and remains open until the end of August, possibly September depending on the apple crop. Customers have the option of picking their own fruit or stopping by to visit the storefront to purchase already gathered fruit. There are several golf carts on site for people who may want to pick their own, but need assistance getting through the orchard.
Russell said the most common questions he receives are if the peaches are free stone peaches and what is in season at the moment. Yes, they have freestone peaches and, as with any crop, it depends on the weather to determine the nature of the crop and if/when the fruit is available.
Families and children are frequent visitors to Melody Orchard. Russell suggested wearing tennis shoes. Even though the walkways are well-mowed, it is safer to protect the feet when picking fruit. Bring a hat, sunscreen and water bottle to make the experience pleasant and cool as possible, he said.
Picking your own fruit at the orchard provides children with a fun and productive activity during the summer months. Russell said that most families stay on average two hours and pointed out that the thorn-free and low hanging blackberry bushes make it an easy and fun activity for kids of all ages. The orchard will also accommodate groups upon request.
“People can pick fruit to their own personal taste of ripeness and use the fruit for everything from desserts to making wine. Many repeat customers also come to pick the fruit in large amounts to can for future use,” said Russell.
The day I visited the orchard, there was a steady stream of visitors to pick their own fruit. Fortunately, I came home with enough blackberries to make a delicious cobbler and the peaches were abundant.
The hours for the orchard are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information on Melody Orchard, call 423-591-0586, visit their website at http://www.melodyorchardtn.com or “Like” Melody Orchard on Facebook for regular updates.