When you think of peaches, does Georgia come first to mind? Maybe you think of California, far and away the largest producer of peaches in the United States. Or just maybe you’ve taken a drive around the Texas countryside, where more than a million trees make the sweet, delicious Texas Peach the state’s leading tree crop. You can enjoy all things peachy (and more) on a simple day trip from Dallas-Fort Worth at Ham Orchards.
Welcome to Ham Orchards
Every summer, Instagram accounts across north Texas are buzzing with snaps from Ham Orchards, just east of the town of Terrell. Happy faces pose with peach ice cream, peach cider, peach pie, and yes, bushels of Texas peaches!
Oh, but there is more where that came from, and you can enjoy the fruits of their labors (pun intended) at the Ham Orchards farm store. Add a classic yet unique Texas meal, an enjoyable walk along the orchards, and a lovely drive from Dallas-Fort Worth, and you have a great afternoon adventure. Sound tempting? It is! Read on…
Really Like Your Peaches
Apologies to Steve Miller (who grew up in Dallas), but we really do like those peaches. Ham Orchards grows more than the typical Cling, though those are the first to ripen. Among the 10,000 or so trees, there are 30 varieties of cling and freestone peaches.
What’s a little ironic is that this whole endeavor started as a hobby. Patriarch Dale Ham, who’s family lives on-site and walks to work, was a fireman in nearby Richardson for 32 years. One day, he decided to plant some peach trees. You know, just for fun.
That turned into about 100 trees. His daughters would pick the fruit and sell it by the basket the way most kids ran lemonade stands. When they couldn’t keep up with demand, Dale planted more peach trees. And then some more. The rest, as they say, is history.
By the 1980s, the orchard was growing into a business. Today, the Hams sell hundreds of thousands of pounds of peaches every year, and welcome visitors from all over to their orchard. They’ve expanded beyond growing and selling their Texas peaches, and still have an eye on growing the business (pun intended) even more.
Ham Orchards Farm Store
If it was just Texas peaches, it would be a peach store, right? Ham Orchards is an authentic farm-to-market store, with goods from this and other area farms and producers for sale. Whatever is in season will be for sale, literally from A (apricots) to Z (zucchini)!
The highlight, of course, are the Texas peaches. There will be some in the store, with even more out in the Peach Pavillion, where you can pick them up by the bag or bushel. Some of the bounty is turned into the dozens of products available in the farm store. As you would expect, there are jars of jams, jellies, and preserves lining the shelves, plus creative plays like peach salsa, and refreshing peach cider. Don’t worry, they have shopping carts for you to load up, and we dare you to try leaving without a full one.
Of course, you will want the perfect Ham Orchards souvenir hat or t-shirt, and our favorite items in the store: award-winning ice cream, paired with a warm pie or cobbler. Another Texas favorite, fried pies, come in several flavors, as do sweet breads and muffins. They are made in-house, and are literally fresh from the farm.
How fresh? At Ham Orchards, you are just yards away from row after row of peach trees – 200 acres, in all. Because peaches are a rather delicate fruit, you can’t pick your own, but you can literally see the trees your peaches grew up on. If you time your visit right, though, you can pick your own fresh blackberries. (Which we actually like even more than tasty Texas peaches!) You can literally drive right up to the Blackberry Patch, which borders one end of the large parking lot.
When you grow a lot of peaches, you learn to use them in almost everything. Including barbeque! But, Ham Orchards doesn’t have just any barbeque: This is Eddie Deen’s barbeque. Only, with peaches.
Even if you are not a barbeque aficionado, you may have heard of Eddie Deen. Locally, he is the King of ‘Que across Texas. He served some 12,000 hungry fans at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and catered George W. Bush’s presidential inauguration. He also served 100,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees as they fled to Texas.
Now, in addition to his Dallas restaurants and catering business, Eddie Deen Barbeque serves hungry shoppers at Ham Orchards. You can load up with the usual: brisket, sausages, ribs, and fixin’s. Since you are visiting a peach orchard, though, you owe it to yourself to indulge in a plate of peach pulled pork. Trust us, you will not be sorry!
Getting to Ham Orchards
Located just 40 minutes east of downtown Dallas, Ham Orchards is easy to get to. The directions are simple: Get yourself on Highway 80, pointed east, and drive. About five miles outside of Terrell, you’ll see Ham Orchards on the right. Pull in and stroll right up to the white farm store doors. Or, do as we do, and start with the barbeque by the parking lot.
If “you ain’t from around here,” Highway 80 splits off from Interstate 30 in Dallas. If you find yourself on Interstate 20, fear not: Drive east to Terrell (exit at the Shops of Terrell), then take Callie Street (Texas 34) up to Highway 80, and turn right. You’ll be at Hams Orchard in about five minutes.
Visiting Ham Orchards is a seasonal affair, and these Texas peaches take the winter off. Except for Sundays, the farm store is open daily from nine to five, from mid-May to mid-August.
What Else to Do in the Area
- Murals of Terrell
- Since you will be passing through Terrell anyhow, why not take some time to admire the Murals of Terrell? You’ll find Colonel Green and his gas-powered automobile, the first of its kind in Texas, way back in 1899. Soar in a Spearman Kaydet PT17 Biplane, honoring the No. 1 British Flying Training School, which trained British pilots in Terrrell from 1941 to the end of World War Two, when the Nazi blitz kept the flyers from training in England. And listen for the thunder of that most Texas of scenes, a herd of Longhorns approaching. We spotted ten murals in the downtown area, but there may be more when you visit; the Murals of Terrell is an ongoing project with support from the City of Terrell, Texas and the Northeast Texas Fine Arts Alliance.
- Grab a Bite
- If you didn’t fill up on peach pulled pork at Ham Orchards, then you should certainly stop at Soulman’s Barbeque in Terrell. (Heck, we advise stopping in even if you did already eat!) Purveyors of the self-described “Best Barbecue in Texas,” Soulman’s has been serving since 1974, so you know they are doing something right. Another local favorite is Cole Mountain Restaurant & Catering. If you drove through town on Highway 80, you drove right past it. They serve, well, “Texas’ best barbecue” (doesn’t everybody?), along with burgers, fajitas, and chicken fried everything. Basically, Texas comfort foods. Both restaurants are open from 11am for lunch and dinner.
- That British Flying Training School featured in the murals? It is still here, in the form of the BFTS Museum in Terrell. Open Wednesday through Saturday, the museum features training materials, WWII memorabilia, and uniforms, and explores the personal stories behind them.
- Visit Buc-ee’s!
- Buc-ee’s is a true Texas legend. If you’ve never been, you owe yourself a visit, and there happens to be one in Terrell, just off Interstate 20. We won’t elaborate here, but we encourage you to check out our visit to the king of road trip pit stops. After that, it’s back on the highway, and back to town with a bushel of Texas peaches, ice cream, and pie!
YOUR Visit to Ham Orchards
Just like that, you have a plan for a half-day trip out of DFW on your next trip to north Texas. We hope you give it a go, and let us know how you enjoy it. Who knows? You may see us there!
We’d love to hear about your experience at Ham Orchards and other farm-to-store locations, and farms that open to the public. Feel free to drop any questions about this day trip in the comments, too. If we don’t know the answer, we probably know someone who will!
As always, thanks for coming along with us at TravelLatte!