Photography by Lindsey La Rue Photography || Editorial Styling by Darling Down South
When the heat of the city starts creeping in, I start looking for every opportunity to escape to the mountains of North Georgia, hoping to find some solace in an afternoon spent elbow deep in blueberry bushes at Mercier Orchards. As the city starts to loom smaller in our rear-view mirror, we find that the tension starts to ease out of our shoulders, and the thoughts of road rage are soon traded for charmed amusement at the misspelled farm stand sides that line the highway.
It was one of those mornings where a casual shirt dress, hunter boots, and a wide brim hat would do as an outfit and the wisps of dirt that accumulated were only nostalgic instead of a nuisance at the end of the day. I made sure to pack my own market bag, and cleared my schedule to ensure enough time to roam through all the fruit orchards on the property.
We started at the blueberry patch and filled our basket to the brim. I came with a purpose to gather enough ingredients to make a lavender, peach and blueberry pie, so I needed to make sure my ingredients were over-flowing and as fresh as I could muster.
When our peach season arrives in June, us Southerners all but run to the farmer’s market for a fresh basket of Georgia’s finest and we put that fruit on and in everything for three glorious months. As we wound our way through the peach orchards, we stopped at every tree, surveying for just the right pick before plucking it from its branch and settling it in next to the other chosen ones.
Mercier Orchards is a sprawling utopia for those who are looking for a quick city escape and getting their hands a little dirty. The farm is most popular when summer turns to fall and their apple hand pies sellout faster than a summer box office thriller. It’s one of the few places you can find teens trading cell phones for wicker baskets, and kids coming back in faces covered in berry juices.
At the end of the day with purple stains on my hands and small wisps of dirt across my dress, I happily drove back home to Atlanta, completely recharged in spirit and mentally refreshed for the weeks ahead. My time in the orchards was just the escape I needed during that hot summer afternoon.