In mid-summer, peach lovers line up well before the 8 a.m. bell at Sandy Creek Farm’s booth on Saturdays. Farming since 1992, Ronda and Randy Thiessen now grow 28 varieties of peaches on their 89-acre orchard in Franklin.
Ronda and Randy are in charge of all the planting, growing, picking, and processing at Sandy Creek Farm. Aside from peaches—their most bountiful crop—the couple also cultivates sweet and tart cherries, blueberries, pears, pecans, and apples and various in season vegetables.
They grow 19 varieties of apples, so their apple-picking season spans from September through November. Together, they walk their orchard, tasting each apple variety “to be sure they are ready to pick,” Ronda said. “We eat more than an apple a day.” The two “like the fact that we can work together and be outside regularly as part of our job, while also providing excellent quality products to our neighbors” at the market, she said.
“Growing fruit began as a way to have our own fresh in season fruit. Fresh off the tree tastes so much better than anything we could buy in the supermarket! As time went by, trying new varieties caused the orchard to grow and we started specializing in fruit.”
None of the Sandy Creek’s fruit goes to waste, she added. Ronda makes applesauce, cider, and dried apples with the fruit they don’t sell. Any overly ripe apples go to the local wildlife. “We also freeze cherries, blueberries, pecans, and peaches for our own winter use.”
On Saturdays, in summer and in the winter, the market has become where they socialize with their regular customers, the other vendors, and the couple’s three grandchildren, who “enjoy helping at the market whenever they can,” Ronda said.