Red and Green Tomatoes brighten up the store with their appropriate colors just in time for Christmas. The greenhouses promise to offer us plenty of vine-ripe grape tomatoes and a few beefsteak tomatoes each day. Meanwhile in the bakery, … Continue reading
The store’s parking lot, gas pumps, and sidewalks are spilling over with pumpkins of every size and shape. This time of the year is always fun and colorful for Cooper Farms Country Store. There is a change over from peaches (though we are still picking a few!) to pumpkins and all the good eats that can be made with them.
There is pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread, pumpkin candy, and even pumpkin pie soda pop!
And don’t forget the roasted pecans, spiced pecans, chocolate covered pecans, or a pecan pie.
Meanwhile at the farm, we are still picking a few figs and a few peaches. The tomato seedlings have sprouted and transplanted in the greenhouses for our winter tomato crop. It’s just a matter of taking care of them and allowing them to grow. We hope to have a crop of grape tomatoes sometime in mid-November.
Coming soon to our wind tunnel will be blackberry plants. Our hope is we can grow blackberries year round for the country store in Fairfield. So we have taken out the peach trees and we are preparing the area for blackberry plants we have on order.
We saved the best news for last. Tim and Kathy Cooper would like to announce the marriage of their daughter, Elizabeth Cooper to Brady Johnson, son of Jerry and Chifawn Johnson, of Fairfield, Texas. They were married at First Baptist Church in Fairfield on September 13th 2014. Elizabeth and Brady are attending Texas A&M University in College Station where they are majoring in horticulture. Both Elizabeth and Brady are currently employed with Cooper Farms. They plan to reside in Fairfield upon completion of college next May and continue working in the family business. Congratulations to a fine couple!
God is Good All the Time and All the Time God is Good,
Tim and Kathy Cooper
Our Dogs are Tired! It was non-stop, harvesting days from June to way into August. Just as suddenly as they began, they also came to a halt. We are still picking enough to offer a basket or bag at our country store if you are passing through; however, not enough for a special trip from a distance. We hope you liked what you got this summer. We ate a lot of them on the picking crew and it felt good to know they were going to be good and sweet when everyone returned home with theirs.
It is now time to turn to other chores around the farm. Once the peaches are gone we are readying the greenhouse for new tomato plants for the fall. Also broken tree limbs in the orchards need cutting, young trees need hoeing out around the trunks, and tractors need preventative maintenance. So Tim will be trying to get all that accomplished soon. Liz and Brady head back to Texas A&M for their senior year where they are majoring in horticulture. Ben has some good things in store at our Cooper Farms Country Store, so we hope you continue to stop in during the year and see what he has baked up each day.
Our family just wants to say thank you for including us in your summer events. We are thankful and grateful for all the blessings God has showered on us. We also thank him for all the lessons we have learned this year. Our heavenly Father is faithful to never leave us. Because of Jesus Christ we have hope for the future and confidence to greet each morning with purpose and anticipation. What more could a farmer and his family desire.
Have a blessed day,
You can still get some tree-ripened freestone peaches in the month of August at the Cooper Farms Country Store at exit 198 on Interstate 45 in Fairfield, Texas. The peaches will be here for another two to three weeks. All of the out-of-town stands are now closed. We want to be sure we have enough peaches here at home for those driving all the way to Fairfield to get your peaches. However, FAIRFIELD STORES ARE OPEN!! The country store is open from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. every day of the week.
Out of Town Roadside Stands will be closing down one at a time in the upcoming weeks as we begin to keep the peaches available for our Fairfield store.
We will no longer be at the Waco location after today (Thursday, July 24th, 2014) and have already ruled out the Centerville location. Conroe and Huntsville are open today and will be open Friday and Saturday of this week. If we still have enough peaches, Conroe and Huntsville will also be open the next week on Friday, August 1st, and Saturday, August 2nd.
What we truly thought was going to be a short crop because of the early March freezes ended up being the most beautiful crop we have seen in a long time. Though the yields were down, the fruit has made up for it in size and beauty. It is a joy to walk up to a tree and just be in awe of what God provided for us to pick! We hope you are enjoying what has come off the trees this year.
We still have plenty of peaches in Fairfield and plan to have enough for many weeks to come still. So come see us while the peaches are here.
Just wanted to let everyone know we will be open this weekend at all of our locations. Cooper Farms Country Store is open 7 days a week from 7am to 10pm. Conroe and Waco will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Huntsville and Centerville will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We will load the trucks heavy with peaches to ensure we don’t sell out early.
Another option for finding peaches this week are the Central Market Stores in Fort Worth, Southlake, Plano, Dallas, Houston, and Austin-Westgate, and the H-E-B stores in Houston-Pasadena, Houston-Friendswood, Houston-Bellaire, College Station (William Fitch Parkway), and Waco-Hewitt.
We will keep picking peaches this week and bringing them out of the fields.
We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.
That’s right…. it’s only June but the peaches we usually begin to see coloring on July 4th are ready to be picked.
And did we pick some pretty stuff today! We have been picking Lorings, Redglobes, Surecrop, Julyprince, Regals, right along with Harvesters and Cornets. The timely rains have encouraged these beauties along and they seem to be in a hurry to arrive. So we have been keeping our picking trailer in high gear, making sure we capture every peach as it gets ready. For those of you who like to order ahead and pick up at our various locations, I urge you to begin your pilgrimages now! Its time to come for freestone peaches
We have finally settled in to these locations for our out of town trucks:
CONROE at Woodbury Community Gardens at 2600 Longmire Road on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (9am to 4pm or sellout)
WACO at Cefco at 616 LakeAir Drive on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (9am to 4pm or sellout)
HUNTSVILLE at Skipper’s Phillips 66 at exit 116 on the east side of I-45 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (9am to 4pm or sellout)
CENTERVILLE at Los Robles on the west side of I-45 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (9am to 4pm or sellout)
If you are driving a long distance to any of these locations please call on that day to make sure we are there as plans can change if things happen beyond our control.
FAIRFIELD at Cooper Farms Country Store at exit 198 on the west side of I-45 is our favorite location! (open every day of the week from 7am to 10 pm)
We have partnered with Central Markets Stores in Austin/Westgate, Ft. Worth, Southlake, Plano, Dallas/Lovers, and Houston/Westheimer where you can shop at your convenience in the produce department.
College Station H-E-B is making our peaches available for those in the Bryan/College Station and surrounding area. As we deliver jarred product to the various H-E-B stores in the Houston area, we will also make an effort to take peaches along with that delivery. So don’t be surprised if you see our peaches in an HEB in your area now and again.
SO HOW DO ALL THOSE PEACHES GET TO ALL THESE LOCATIONS?
A typical day here at the farm begins at 5am. As Brady Johnson is loading trucks for out of town, our driver going to the Central Market stores has already left out a few hours before. Tim is making breakfast and trying to wake Kathy up with a cup of coffee. By 6 Tim has breakfast ready for Kathy and Brady and himself. Liz will be getting up knowing the stands in Fairfield need a supply of peaches to start off the morning. By 6:30 Brady and Kathy are out the door going to the fields on the picking trailer. Tim will be on the tractor most of the morning taking care of the irrigation, weed control, and looking at fruit that will be picked in the following days. Liz is making sure all the out-of town trucks are on their way and the roadside stand in Fairfield is supplied. Meanwhile Ben is starting the day at Cooper Farms Country Store.
Picking goes on all morning from 6:30 to 12:00 when everyone gets a 30 minute break for lunch and some rest. Then it’s back to filling up those boxes, trudging through mud, and tall grass, making sure every tree on the row is looked at and every ready peach is captured. While Kathy separates peaches and inspects peaches, she tries to answer phone calls and emails on her cell phone as the picking trailer rocks along going down the rows. If rain showers don’t interrupt the rhythm of the tractor wheels, the trailer gets filled up twice a day and all the peaches head for the shed. Once there the peaches are place in cold storage to draw out the orchard heat. This gets them ready to be shipped either to roadside stands or stores. Brady and Liz palletize the peaches in the evening and load them on the truck going to Central Market the night before they go out. Everything is ready for the driver to take them on their way in the early hours of the night. The peaches going to the roadside stands are palletized the night before and left in the coolers overnight, ready to be loaded right before leaving out the following morning. By 9 pm everyone is ready to drop into bed and get some sleep before doing it all over again the next day. But before going to sleep we thank our Heavenly Father for the bounty, for the strength, for his goodness and for his salvation. We are reminded its all about HIM.
God is good all the time and all the time God is Good.
Our daughter, Elizabeth Cooper, along with Brooke Johnson, will be in Huntsville this coming Saturday and Sunday at the Phillips 66 station, also known as Skippers. This location is at exit 116 on I-45 on the east side of the interstate next door to Mcdonald’s . Elizabeth will have yellow peaches, white peaches, tomatoes, squash,and possibly nectarines. Those wanting overripes, she will have those as well, first come first serve! Her stand opens at 9 am and we need her rolling out of Huntsville about 4 pm.
Also Centerville will have a stand on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Los Robles restaurant on the west side of I-45.
If you are near any of these locations, please take advantage of the opportunity to get some fresh picked peaches. We have have been in the orchards all day today getting enough peaches for the weekend. The day was perfect! Cool temperatures with a rain shower right about noon. While waiting for the rain to stop, we slipped over to the greenhouses and picked some nice red juicy tomatoes. That done we were able to get back to work on the peach picking. Yall are coming after them faster than we can keep up almost! Thank you so much.
If you are wondering about any other locations, for now Huntsville and Centerville is all we will have open besides here in Fairfield. In the Dallas area, Central Market Dallas, Central Market Plano, and Central Market Ft. Worth will get a delivery Friday morning.
So many of you have been calling, emailing, etc. asking about our out-of-town roadside trucks, wanting to know where are we? When are we going to be there? What’s happened?
Hopefully we can explain what is going on this year. Farming is challenging and no year is the same. That means the Cooper family has to constantly adapt to change in order to continue growing for our faithful customers year after year. This year is no exception. In fact this year, we are having to make major shifts in how we get our peaches to you because of many factors.
The first factor is labor. In the past we have had an excellent labor pool in the way of high-school and college students. These hardworking teenagers have committed their summers to us to earn money for college. Since we only need this extra labor in the summer months, it has worked out for us the past 30 years. They have a summer job, and we have summer drivers. However, last year we were told by the Labor Department that workers under the age of 18 are not allowed to drive as part of their employment. Along with that we learned that our drivers are not covered under the agriculture overtime exemption. What does this mean for the Coopers? It means the teenagers who are wanting to work out of town and put in long hours to make sure you have peaches in your area are not allowed by law to drive to you. Also their hours will be limited to 40 hours because of the overtime rule. What does this mean for you? If the Coopers find someone over the age of 18 to drive, they will not be able to stay as many days, even hours as they have in the past. This is a ruling that is not going away and will affect how often and how far we go out of town.
The second factor is supply of peaches. You will remember in our last writing we told you the early blooms were froze out. We have a beautiful crop. Gorgeous great tasting peaches. However, the supply is limited. Again the Coopers have to make some decisions. Do we keep the peaches we have here in Fairfield to make sure none of our faithful customers are turned away when they drive all the way to our store? When we are certain Fairfield has enough peaches, do we then send delivery trucks to grocery stores where our customers can go at their own leisure to buy them? When we do the latter, then the Coopers can return home and continue picking. We are confident in years to come our supply of peaches will be better when weather cooperates.
We would like to be everywhere all of the time with a full crop of peaches. But this year we will be in limited out-of-town sites with limited days and limited peaches. However, we can guarantee will have PLENTY of peaches in Fairfield. When we post deliveries to stores it is to let you know where we have been able to go. If this is anywhere close to you, please take advantage of the delivery.
The third factor is seeing how a small family farm can keep farming in today’s economy, and today’s government regulations. Trying to keep costs down and leave a legacy to our children, where they can carry on the family tradition, we are trying to get back to the basics in the fields. While Tim is keeping the crops irrigated, the weeds at bay, and the insect beneficials thriving, Kathy is on the picking trailer inspecting every peach that comes out of the orchard. Ben keeps the country store supplied with great products from the peaches we pick. Elizabeth helps out in ALL of the areas mentioned above. New times call for new ways and smart decisions. Cooper Farms is here to stay. If times are changing, this family will adapt and keep growing peaches for you.
This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17
God is good all the time. And all the time God is Good.
written by Kathy Cooper
This time of year we are up early and ready to greet the day. Spring came in cold and icy as our first blooms were showing off with a beautiful pink splendor. The ice and temps were no match for those first blooms and they soon shriveled away. However, what remained on the trees were not affected. Not having to compete with the peaches that had bloomed before, the peaches left on the tree have taken in the spring rains and made a nice show of themselves in the end. There appears to be a very manageable harvest and plenty to go around to all the roadside locations along with a few grocery stores and restaurants.
We encourage you to stop by a stand and get a taste of each week’s picking. They get bigger and sweeter as the season progresses. We have a few more weeks of cling peaches, and once summer arrives (around June 21, give or take a few days) the freestones start their season. We were talking to a customer a few days ago about how we wait patiently for freestones to follow clings and how God ordained it to be that way. Could it be we need to cling to him, and only after clinging to him are we truly free? Nature is constantly pointing us to our creator and redeemer even in something a simple and awesome as a peach.
Over the years, many of our customers inquire of our family. You have watched our farm grow and our children grow since we began in 1983. Our older son, Ben, is finished with his education and works alongside us by managing and overseeing the day-to-day operations at the Cooper Farms Country Store in Fairfield, Texas. Elizabeth , our younger daughter, along with her husband-to-be (there is a wedding in the air) attend Texas A&M where they both are majoring in Horticulture. They both plan to take over the growing side upon graduation. Tim and Kathy continue to work diligently with day to day operations around the farm, making sure the trees stay current and healthy.
This is the first post for the 2014 season. We will try to keep you posted here for roadside openings, varieties being picked, and exciting offerings at our country store. School has let out, vacations have started, Father’s Day is around the corner. May everyone get off to a good start, have safe travels, and a blessed summer.
God is good all time and all the time God is GOOD!