Saturday, August 1, 2015

Ham’s Orchard: More of a time than just a place

I have been craving fresh fruit, specifically tree-ripened  peaches and there is  a place we love to go in the summer. Just a twenty minute drive east to Terrill Texas is a fresh produce oasis where time magically slows even if for just long enough to eat their homemade ice cream.

You drive through the town of Terrill and the old fashioned storefront is reminiscent of another time and just as you drive where the trees replace the quaint stores and gas stations, over the train tracks is Ham’s Orchard.

There seems to be a ritual to eating ice cream. You see old and young alike, from the elderly couples to the road tripping family slowing down to eat the peach, strawberry and swirl ice cream. We all sit on the porch, people talk, there is less cell phone chatter and texting, people laugh, dads poll their kids on their favorite flavors.

Inside it’s another story, crowded lines eager for farm-fresh delights. The colors lend themselves so well to photography, bright plump tomatoes and deep green seedless watermelon line the wall.

There are all kinds of jellies, honeys, syrups and veggie preserves. I must admit I want to try everything and every time it seems a few peaches turns into a full basket of a little bit of everything. This time we got blueberries, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes and plums.

Did I mention they have ice cream to go? All kinds of wonderful home made pies and frozen cobblers tempt the patrons as they wait in line for home made fudge and ice cream. I noticed the customers are patient, it seems everyone has stepped out of the hustle of the nearby cities. Older gentlemen hold their wives hands, young dads carry their children on their shoulders, there is the feeling of tradition of an idyllic summer day in the country, a sense of family.

There were young children dripping with ice cream as we all sit on benches outside. We don’t even notice or pay attention to the heat, that’s what the drowse of ice cream on a hot summer day is all about. There is silence, as even the crankiest child sits quietly licking the sweet cold treat.

All around the area there are things to see, there’s a petting zoo down the road a stretch-just couldn’t resist. You are emersed in the sound of cicadas buzzing and the shadows of pecan trees. In the back there is an orchard full of peach trees, along the side there are blackberry bushes where my son and I have picked our own on another trip.

There is barbecue, which I would assume must be wonderful by the line waiting to get it and the crowd that fills the pavilion to eat it. It’s a family place, you can feel it, even the workers, all young kids, seem to be content spending time there.

After a wonderful bit of ice cream and full bags of produce it was time to drive home. I am so happy that on any given day between mid May and mid August I can go back to a time, a place where I can imagine sipping iced tea and lemonade on front porches, families stopping for a moment to enjoy that elusive summer day and did I mention ice cream-it’s hard not to feel peace and calm even for just a little while. 

You're in the country. Cicadas buzzing, birds chirping, a perfect summer day in Texas.

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