Peach Park, Clanton
Back when Peach Park was a simple produce stand, many delicate peaches were damaged each season as they were prepped for shipping out of the county to distributors. To prevent profit loss, owners Frances and Gene Gray decided to use the peaches they couldn't sell to make ice cream and pies. Today, manager Jean Mims says, "The pies, ice cream and cobbler are what make us Peach Park."
If you visit the Clanton hot spot, make sure you try their No. 1 combination — a peach pie with a scoop of peach ice cream. Mims notes that at the busiest times, they can go through hundreds of 3-gallon buckets of peach ice cream each week, and they easily sell 50,000 peach pies in a season. Peach Park also ships the pies, which are shelf-stable for several days.
The pie-making process is a collaborative effort. From the peach-peeling room to the bakers who make and roll the dough, cook the filling, stuff the tarts and fry them, every step is done on the premises using fresh Chilton County peaches during the growing season. "This dish is a true Southern tradition," says Mims. "They're fried pies like your grandmother used to make."