More than a decade in the making, June 30 will bring the first Peach Festival to Miss Angel’s Farm on Heart Lane in Mount Airy.
“A peachy day at the farm,” is how Angela Shur (alter ego of Miss Angel and her eponymous bakery, ice cream shop and now farm) envisions the event to be held at the farm owned by Shur and her husband, Randy Shur.
“We’ll have everything peaches,” said Angela Shur, as she recites a litany of peach-based foods that will be on offer: peach ice cream, peach moonshine ice cream, peach zonkas (Shur’s trademark name for peach sonkers topped off with her special moonshine dip), peach dessert pizzas, peach bread and peach pies. Not just for eating, peaches will be part of the slate of planned activities. Peach bowling will substitute peaches for bowling balls as the summer fruit becomes sporting equipment.
The event will benefit The Shepherd’s House with $1 of each $5 admission fee going to the homeless shelter. Shur also has a silent auction and a number of raffles planned, with proceeds going to The Shepherd’s House. The raffles will include fruit baskets and other peach-themed gifts and delicacies, with Shur rat-a-tat tatting through a stream-of-consciousness laundry list of the goodies she is planning to offer.
The farm boasts a one-third scale two-story playhouse complete with turret and corkscrew slide to amuse young visitors. Randy Shur built it during the past winter and said it will be finished by the day of the peach festival.
Shur ducks through the hobbit-sized doorway of the playhouse, saying,”One of the men who helped me build this was really tall, and he was constantly banging his head. But if you’re under four-feet, it’s just right.”
“I used to do framing and construction in the winter,” said Shur of his former farm on Eastern Long Island. “The winters were so long, and spring came so late, farmers needed a winter job.”
“There will be everything for small people,” chimed in Angela Shur, and then showed off the custom barrel train they have built for the farm. “I love kids,” she added.
There is a swing and teeter-totter and toy farm equipment for the little ones.
Shur’s love of little ones extends to other species. There is a wide selection of farm cats on the property, a dog named Moonshine, ducks, chickens, peacocks and peahens, and a pair of four-year-old Sulcata tortoises that were acquired as hatchlings four years ago with the male having now grown to about the size of a shoebox and the female considerably smaller. But they will grow much, much larger, concur the Shurs, as Randy Shur points to a plastic trough about the size of a washtub.
“You can do everything here there is to do on a farm,” said Angela Shur. She only draws the line at two things. “You can’t come in my house or swim in my pool.”
The Shurs purchased the property in 2005, spent a couple of years building the Victorian-style farmhouse, and began the process of converting the former horse farm’s 60 acres to orchards in 2007.
By now, they have thousands of fruit trees — mostly peaches — but also plums, pears, apples, pluotts and apriums. (Pluotts and apriums are plums and apricot hybrids).
“We have 22 varieties of peaches,” said Randy Shur, who is a horticulturist with an encyclopedic knowledge on the subject.
The extensive selection makes for a long season with peaches ripening from June 15 to Sept. 15.
Aside from the Peach Festival, the Shurs have their hands full with a season-long calendar of agri-tourism activities. The farm will be open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday through October. By the end of the month, Randy Shur said he will have planted acres of pumpkins for pick-your-own pumpkins for the fall.
“If you plant them before the end of June, they’re ripe in August,” said Shur, noting that people don’t gear up for harvest activities until later in the fall.
The Shur’s menu of pick-your-own items will include flowers to pick your own bouquet.
An acre of corn has been planted for a corn maze, and it’s already waist-high. Angela Shur says they’ll cut out some paths in it for the Peach Festival.
“Why wait until it’s six-feet-high and dead?” she asks. “We can have a corn maze now.”
In front of the farm’s barn and country store is a picnic area with a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven for evenings when the atmosphere at the farm turns romantic, giving an opportunity to ‘wine and dine under the stars’ after the sun goes down. The Shurs serve real wood-fired pizza using local meats and produce from their farm with local wines available for diners. Dessert is, not surprisingly, peach dessert pizza.
Friday night will open the season when a group of people from “Our State” magazine start a weekend getaway to Mount Airy with dinner under the stars before a full day of sightseeing on Saturday and moving on to Shelton Vineyards’ Harvest Grill. “The next weekend we’ll be open to the public,” said Shur.
“We were going to retire when we moved here,” said Angela Shur. “If you had told me 20 years ago this was going to be the game plan, I’d have told you you were crazy. But then I had an idea,” she said.
And the ideas continue to come. With 60 acres of peaches, blackberries and blueberries at her disposal, Shur has decided she wants to add hard cider to the list of products produced at Miss Angels Farm.
“You can’t be in a bad day when you’re here,” she sighs.
Miss Angels Farm’s Peach Festival is Saturday, June 30 from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at 252 Heart Lane, Mount Airy. (West on hwy. 89/W. Pine Street. Turn left onto Oak Grove Church Road just west of I-77. The farm is on your right.) Admission is $5 ($1 of which goes to The Shepherd’s House) and includes all activities. Concessions are extra. Hamburgers will be available, the wood-fired pizza oven will be cranking out pizzas, and a New York hot dog cart will be in full production. The country store will be fully stocked with all things peach. Festival-goers can buy peaches picked earlier that morning or pay to pick their own. The farm is open June through October Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Call 336-745-5166 for more information. Email [email protected] to make reservations for “Wine and Dine under the Stars.”
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.