June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, and bringing fresh fruit from the orchard to the public is the goal of The Fruit Club in Sioux Falls. This month some of that fresh fruit will be available at the SD Peach Festival which benefits Special Olympics in SD. Biz sat down with Iryna Vercellino, COO and Lindsey Barwald, Marketing, to get the inside scoop.
Is it true you’ll have the world’s largest peach cobbler at the Peach Festival?
Iryna: Yes! It’s about the size of an SUV! We’ll be giving free samples, with ice cream too! Fresh pies are also available for purchase. The Peach Festival is a 2 day family event, June 25 and 26 at Yankton Trail Park and features everything peach-related, from peach beer to peach pie! It’s free, and it starts at 11 on Saturday and 7am on Sunday. There will be live bands, 60 vendor booths, inflatables, hot air balloons, performers, children’s theatre, puppet show, even a canning demonstration to teach you how to can fruit, a pancake feed on Sunday with a non-denominational service, and closing with an outdoor movie, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible very bad day.
The Peach Festival is an event of The Fruit Club. What is the club?
Iryna: The Fruit Club is for fruit-lovers. There are no fees and no memberships required. We buy and ship in bulk. Members can reserve fruit at our web site, then pick up and pay for it at time of purchase. But even if you don’t pre-order, you can take your chances and stop by The Fruit Club truck to see if there’s some left. We make arrangements with private businesses to have the trucks available in their parking lots on designated delivery days.
Will there be contests?
Lindsey: Yes! A peach dessert contest and anyone can participate. $10 entry fee, you bring your best peach recipe, and you can win a prize! Parking is a free will donation. This is a benefit for Special Olympics and we need 300 volunteers, so if you want to volunteer, please contact us at southdakotapeachfestival.com.
Is it true that orchards actually “blow dry” the fruit?
Iryna: Yes. The amount of work to grow the fruit is amazing. In the morning they go through the orchard to “blow dry” the trees, then they use clippers to clip the fruit – the stem can’t be too long or too short – it changes the flavor. These are things the consumer doesn’t know, but you can taste the difference.
Future expansion plans?
Iryna: Our office is here in Sioux Falls. Right now we are in 11 states and 200 towns and plan to add 3 more states this summer. We’re always on the lookout for more fruit to offer. Last year we added grapes, this year pineapples.
What’s the next fruit you’ll be bringing in?
Lindsey: In the month of June we will be bringing Dark Sweet and Rainier cherries known as “white” cherries, along with apricots, reserve now if you want them! They go fast!