photographs by Faith Teasley

As Geraldine Herring walks along row after row of peach trees, she bites into a ripe, fuzzy fruit, wiping away juice with the back of her hand. She grins to herself, remembering how this orchard came to be. Sixteen years ago, her husband, Roy, didn’t just plant peach trees; he also planted the seeds of a retirement plan. Not for himself — he’d continue growing soy, corn, and wheat — but for Geraldine. “I came home one day, and he told me he had planted peach trees,” she says. Five hundred peach trees. “I asked him what I was going to do with 500 peach trees. ‘Sell peaches,’ he said.”

Geraldine, who spent most of her career as a probation officer, had a lot to learn about farming. But she soon discovered that, like Roy, she had it in her blood. And she actually enjoyed it. “There’s no greater feeling than to plant something and watch it grow and see how beautiful it is,” she says.

Since then, those 500 peach trees have increased to 3,200, and her venture has matured into the well-known Geraldine’s Peaches and Produce Roadside Market in Robeson County, boasting 27 varieties of peaches and an abundance of other fruits and vegetables. When you wander through the market, Geraldine’s smile will make you think that this was her dream. And it is — it just didn’t start out that way. Turns out, some dreams need a little nudging and scheming to take root.

Geraldine’s Market
10728 NC Highway 41
Lumberton, NC 28358
(910) 739-8686

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Mary Katherine Walt was a spring 2019 editorial intern.