"When is Dry Creek Peach coming in?" This
question gets asked about a dozen times each Saturday market during the month of May. When they finally arrive the question becomes, "Where's that peach booth?" While conducting this interview, car after car pulled into their little farm stand on Yoakim Bridge Rd, inquiring if they had any peaches left. They didn't. They'd sold out in three hours.

I've managed the market since 2017, so for five years have wondered about this seemingly famous produce grower. What's made them so popular?

"We're the only ones growing a substantial amount of peaches in wine country, and we grow organically," owner Brian Sullivan explains as we walk through a small section of the five-acre orchard.

I'd wondered why no one else was farming them. Clearly they thrive in this climate. The orchard was abundant with fruit. Brian explained the laborious nature of farming peaches. There's little down time. They're constantly trimming out the excess fruit or picking it. All the work has to be done by hand on ladders. Two acres of peach production is equal to twenty-five in grapes. And they're delicate at certain stages; moisture can ruin them.

So it seemed surprising that Brian and his wife Gayle had chosen this life, given neither of them had any prior farming experience. They'd been living in San Francisco, with Brian selling convertible bonds and Gayle doing direct marketing for tech companies. Gayle wanted to own a piece of land, and they stumbled upon the already-established Dry Creek Peach for sale in 2000. The deal included the master farmer, Eusebio Sayago, and his family, who had worked the orchard for years.

The orchard has a long history, beginning with Yael and Paul Bernier, who planted the first trees back in the 70's. It went through a series of owners, but it was Steve Monroe who created Dry Creek Peach, and established a strong following of both retail and wholesale customers, including the grocery store chain Food For Thought, which eventually became Whole Foods. He was a mentor to the Sullivans on their journey from city folk to skilled peach farm owners. Steve's calendar of farm to-dos each month is still used today.

The trees are planted in order of when the fruit ripens, so different varieties are growing in neat rows, with some ready now, and others, as we continue to walk down the path, ripe for the picking in July, August, maybe even a few weeks of September. O'Henrys, Red Haven, Arctic Gems, and Last Chance are a few of their varieties. They grow other crops too, including cherries, nectarines, plums, figs, and a variety of produce they sell during the season at their farm stand, which opens at noon and closes when they've been wiped out.