Saturday, August 23, 2008

Collins Round Mountain Orchard

The Collins Round Mountain Orchard in Conway, Arkansas is quite possible heaven on earth. There the bright summer sky meets the red Arkansas clay and a hundred acres of fruit trees stretch out as far as the eye can see. Sadly, only a handful of the 1,000+ college kids I performed for that night knew that it existed in their own town.

This time of year the Earth expresses itself in peaches, and I consider it my duty to eat as many as possible as I travel the U.S. I've eaten damned fine peaches in countless states, but nothing has matched the dizzying volume of sugar-sweet pickin's at Collins. There U-pickers huddle in the welcome shade of the trees, surreptitiously gorging themselves on fruit almost too sweet to eat. I even bit one right off the tree, my hands useless at my sides. The part of peach that had been in the sun was as hot as my mouth, the shady side quite cool. It was worth a couple of fire ant bites. Heck, even the ground was lousy with fruit.

We filled up our paper bags with these and the last of some gala apples for what amounted to pocket change. Not listed on my new favorite food finder, I'm guessing Collins doesn't make the "sustainable" cut, though they are officially Arkansas Grown. I would have liked to talk with them about their farming practices, but I would have felt like a d*ck asking if they sprayed. They probably do, which might be why their blackberries look like this:

Contrast that to my first wild blueberry of the season. I've seen "two bite" desserts catching on at obnoxious food retailers across America, but never did I dream that the phrase could apply to a berry.

It was almost like eating corn. A handful was just absurd.

Still, as high on sucrose and Arkansas sunshine as I was, I probably wasn't as happy as this bug.


Collins Round Mountain Orchard
159 Millpond Rd. Conway AR 72034
Contact: Racy Garis
Phone: 501-327-2234

Located 3 miles south of Conway on Round Mountain, Collins Round Mountain Orchards is a u-pick orchard offering peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, blackberries, tomatoes, muscadines and vegetables. Our picking season begins the second week in June and runs through August except for apples which continue into October. The hours of picking are 7:00 AM until 1:00 pm (though they were open when I went at 4pm). The orchard is clean and neat making for a pleasant picking of the highest quality fruit. Containers are provided.

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Mallory Elise said...

clicked on your link from your comment at bourdain, so if you like the smoking man you must be a good person right. but what do you mean fewer meals at les halles!

those berries look slightly unnatural. only take three for a pie. haha!

keep up the good work.

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