By Rick Haley
“How do you do that?” That’s the number one question I get asked when someone finds out that I sell peaches. My wife’s favorite answer is, “Would you like to buy a peach?” Although that works pretty well, it’s a little more complicated than that. When I was approached with the opportunity to be part of The Peach Truck, I must admit I was a little shocked and confused. I didn’t know the first thing about fruit except that I liked to eat it.
The questions swam in my head. “Can you earn a living selling peaches? What’s involved? How will this affect my family? Will I get to spend time with them? What’s a freestone peach?” Fortunately, the questions got sorted out and here we are as a family providing one of God’s most amazing fruits.
I don’t know of another fruit that immediately takes folks back to their childhood like a peach. I don’t know of another fruit that reminds people about a simpler place and time like a peach. I don’t know of another fruit that gets people so emotional and passionate like a peach. And here’s the best part … my family is involved.
It all begins with our pre-season starting in February. The Peach Truck team sits down and makes plans for peach season (mid-May through mid-Aug). All the typical stuff you do in business … budgets, schedules, logistics, etc. Then in March, I visit our 72 small town locations. This first contact of the year involves staying in touch and preparing each of our towns for our arrival in late June. We will sell peaches at each place twice a summer throughout Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. And the best part … my family is involved.
When the peaches are ready to be harvested they are all hand-picked, the way God intended. Peaches are very delicate if you pick them when they are ripe, which we do. We then do our best to insure that our customers have them within 24–48 hours of leaving the tree. This is what makes us different. We will only sell FRESH Georgia peaches. It does create some logistical challenges, but that’s part of the fun. As we set up our retail locations throughout middle Tennessee it’s all hands on deck. Peach season is very busy as we haul peaches, bag them up, set up stands, work with amazing customers, load trucks, give samples and have a blast. It’s incredibly hard work, but totally worth it when you hear story after story about how much people love this fruit. And the best part … my family is involved.
Next, it’s time to hit the road for our Small Town Tour with my 13-year-old son. He’s an amazing young man who is growing before my very eyes. I get to spend six glorious weeks with my son traveling thousands of miles watching people fall in love with what we do and how we do it. We get to bond like every father dreams of getting to connect with his kids. And the best part … my family is involved.
During all of this excitement, we are all working to fill our Farm-to-Porch orders. These are the orders we ship all over the United States. And the best part … my family is involved.
Before you know it, the peach trees are done producing. They need some rest and so do we. As the peach trees take a long break for the fall and winter, we do too. We fish, hunt, travel, volunteer, teach, learn, explore, hike, connect with friends and family and enjoy time together. And the best part … my family is involved.
At the heart of The Peach Truck, is a core team of four: our founders, Stephen and Jessica Rose; our operations director, Christy Graham; and me. I oversee our Small Town Tour and Fundraiser divisions. We have a very simple central belief at The Peach Truck: Freedom, Generosity and an Amazing Product. That’s it. No fancy manifests, edicts or mission statements, just plain common sense. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to do what we love. We are so blessed to work hard and literally see the fruit of our labor. We are so blessed to have the time to pursue our passions. On this earth, time is all we really have to give. Once it’s gone, you’ll never get it back. So here is the question … how are you going to invest yours?
Rick and Bonnie Haley are the parents of five kids aged 6–19. They homeschool their four younger kids in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, where they are very active in their local church, community and sports. Bonnie has been a homeschooling mom since 1999 and Rick has worked in sales and management within various industries. To learn more about The Peach Truck, please visit them on the web at www.thepeachtruck.com.