According to Mark Schnepf, his 300-acre farm will host 10,000 to 15,000 visitors each day of this weekend’s Peach Festival in Queen Creek. It also runs May 19-20.
Activities include peach picking; train, hay and carnival rides; a food-sampling tent; chef demonstrations; and pies, cinnamon rolls and pancakes to feast on.
Schnepf Farms has been growing peaches since the 1960s.
“It was very simple when we first started, but it grows every year,” Schnepf says. “Consequently, I have to plant new orchards every year to keep up with demand.”
The farm grows six varieties of peaches ranging from small to large, “but they are all juicy and sweet,” says Carrie Schnepf, Mark’s wife.
The first orchard is typically opened to the public for self-picking at the end of April; the last is plucked bare within the first week of June. Most of the peaches are sold directly to the public in the U-Pick Orchards and at the farm’s Country Store. In abundant crop years, the farm also sells to farmers markets and grocery stores.
The Schnepfs advise visitors to come prepared for heat, bringing a hat, sunscreen and lots of water.
“With peaches being at their very best in the season, it’s a wonderful event,” Mark says. “When you bite into one, the juice will just run down your arm.”
If you go
What: Find down home family fun and pick your own peaches and apricots at Schnepf Farms’ annual Peach Festival
When: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 12-13 and May 19-20
Where: Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek
Cost: Free admission; bring money for rides, activities, food and drink. U-pick peaches are $2 per pound.
Information: (480) 987-3100 or www.schnepffarms.com