Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me!

By Michael Buck and Michelle Pittman

Fruit of the trees is what Bethlehem-based Scholl Orchards does best—especially peaches. With about 30 different varieties of peaches growing in their orchards, they’re sure to have a style for just about anyone. Martha Ryan, the daughter of owners George and Faith Scholl, says the family takes the quality and appearance of their peaches very seriously. Each one is tree ripened and plucked from the branch about two days before it’s ready to eat.

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The produce more than lives up to the hype. The peaches we bought were some of the peachiest peaches we have ever tried. Orange, juicy and sweet, we eventually turned these tasty balls of joy into a peach crisp. See the results over at Feaston.

Peaches aren’t your bag? How about apples? Before the growing season is over, the Scholls, whose farm has been running for 62 years, will have offered between 15 to 20 different varieties for sale. Some of them are even grown right in the City of Bethlehem, on a three-acre orchard just behind their market at 3057 Center Street. Hundreds of Galas and Zestar apples are ripening this week and are already on sale at the market.

What isn’t produced at the Scholl’s Bethlehem orchard is grown at the much larger operation in Kempton, in Berks County. There, peaches, nectarines, pears and more occupy 30 acres of fruit trees. The produce is then trucked to the Bethlehem market for sale, along with vegetables the Scholl family gets from farmers in the Kutztown area.

The Scholls are conscientious about what goes into producing their fruit. Martha says they use a method wherein experts trap bugs, analyze them and tell them what they need to treat the trees for, so they’re not indiscriminately spraying pesticides. Other hungry pests, like deer and birds, are deterred with a variety of methods such as hanging garlic-filled tubes, soap and shiny paper on the trees.

This fall, look out for Scholl’s homemade, unpasteurized apple cider, which should hit the shelves by mid-September.

Scholl Orchards, 3057 Center Street, Bethlehem; Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday,  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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