Pie Bar Small Business Partners: Dickey Farms

Pie Bar Small Business Partners: Dickey Farms

By: Lauren Bolden, Owner of Pie Bar
June 22, 2022

This piece is a part of Pie Bar’s Small Business Partnership Series where we spend time highlighting the people and the companies that make Pie Bar so special. Dickey Farms is the peach provider for Pie Bar and helps us create the best peach pie you've ever tasted. 
Dickey Peach Farm
Photo Credit: Dickey Farms

In early June I made a day trip to Dickey Farms in Musella. Dickey Farms is the oldest continuously operating peach packing house in the State of Georgia. They grow peaches on almost 1,000 acres in Musella, a small town outside of Macon. By the time I arrived around 10:00 am there were already a few people milling around the open-air packhouse along Musella Road.

Standing in the parking lot, you can see a lot of small-town life happening around you. Across the street is Musella Baptist Church, where I once attended a college friend’s wedding. Before the wedding, I sat on that very porch of the Dickey Farm packhouse and ate fresh, peach ice cream. Next door to the church is an old general store where on weekends you can get roadside barbecue. Just down from the general store, the Dickey’s put in a pavilion and a playground beside their U-Pick Strawberry patch, to accommodate the school groups that visit the farm throughout the year. I briefly lived in a rural, single-stoplight town when I was 11 years old. We lived there for about 8 months before my Mom decided the 14 miles into town were about 12 too many, and we packed up and moved. Despite its short tenure, it seems that a deep appreciation for small, farm towns was ingrained in me because as I stood in front of Dickey Farms I felt a sense of connection to a place I had only visited a few times before.

I quickly jogged up the steps and landed on the packhouse’s wooden floor. It was a balmy June morning, with potential for rain. I stuck my hand out from under the overhanging roof to see if any drops had started yet. It seems the rain would hold off, so I took a seat in one of the rocking chairs lining the front of the building as I waited to chat with one of Dickey Farms’ owners, Cynde Dickey.

With a long brown bob and a kind smile, Cynde made her way over to me. As we sat on the porch and caught up, she would periodically get up to greet a customer or sign an invoice. As she was helping someone load cases of peaches into their waiting vehicle, I peeked around the packhouse. There were tables filled with dilly beans, peach salsa, and loaves of sweet breads. There were freshly picked peaches available and bundles of purple Dickey Farm peach boxes stacked beside the peach sorter.

I have had the good fortune of meeting Cynde on several occasions so our conversation came easy and felt more like friends chatting while we slowly rocked back and forth. Pie Bar started sourcing peaches from Dickey Farms a handful of years ago, in part thanks to the sweet nature of their produce, but also in part thanks to Cynde’s daughter, Marjie.

Dickey Family
Dickey Family
Photo Credit: Cynde Dickey 

In 2012, I was working in the Scheduling Office for Governor Deal. It was a department of two, so periodically I would sneak away from my desk to chat with people in other departments. My favorite place to visit was the Constituent Services Office thanks to the plethora of baked goods and people my own age. One of those people was a girl named Marjie. It turns out that she grew up in Middle Georgia on a peach farm and had a knack for baking. Each time I visited Constituent Services I always made sure to say hello to Marjie. 

By 2017, I left The Governor’s Office and was a couple of years into running Pie Bar. We were coming up on summer, and customers were asking for peach pie. One of the things I love about my job at Pie Bar is that I have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with farms across the state. We source all of our Blueberries from Byne Blueberry Farm in Waynesboro, Georgia. All of our pecans come from Pearson Farm in Fort Valley. Two years into the business, I was having a hard time finding the right peach farm for Pie Bar’s Peach Pies, until I suddenly thought of Marjie. I dug around for an old phone number and gave her a call. She quickly introduced me to her mother, Cynde, and her dad, Robert.

Cynde & Robert Dickey
Photo Credit: Cynde Dickey

Cynde Martin met Robert Dickey at The University of Georgia. After graduation, they got married and moved back Musella to work in Robert’s family business, Dickey Farms. Over the years Cynde learned how to properly plant, care for, and harvest the perfect peach. She grew the open-air packing house into an agritourism destination that attracts customers seeking Georgia Peaches and Georgia Grown products from all over the United States. “I used to only have a small corner of the packhouse for retail, but over the years, I’ve been able to expand as demand has increased,” she told me.
Over the years, Cynde worked with Robert and Robert’s father, Robert Sr., to continue the legacy that Robert Sr.’s Grandfather created 125 years ago. She and Robert have two children, and now their oldest, Lee, has moved back with his own family to follow in his parents' footsteps. Naturally, I asked about Marjie and I was pleased to hear that she still whipped up freshly baked desserts for Dickey’s from time to time.

Working in a family business has its fair share of benefits and drawbacks, but one of the biggest benefits is having access to someone that holds so much knowledge about growing tasty peaches. Cynde’s Father-in-Law, Robert Sr. is 92 years old and still works in the business daily, “overseeing Robert Jr., Lee, and the peaches, mostly.”
Dickey Farms
"Mr. Bob" who started Dickey Farm in 1897 and his son, Mr. Wilmer Dickey along with Wilmer's sons, Bob Jr. and Dick.
Photo Credit: Cynde Dickey

Talking about the peaches with Cynde, I can see that not only is the farm her passion, but it is also a part of her family. Peaches are a fruit you have to plan for, making sure to show them just the right amount of care. Earlier in the year the trees bloomed sooner than anticipated, filling the air with a sweet scent and swirls of little pink petals. “The fear with an early bloom is that you may still have cold days to come, and if a freeze hits, your crop can be wiped out,” she said.

Of course, there are ways to combat this: smudge pots (a cylindrical chimney placed between trees in orchards meant to create heat and protect the delicate buds), helicopters (their blades forcing warmer air down, protecting the buds), or prayer. Despite the freezing temperatures, the Dickey’s peach blooms survived and are now being harvested for the crowds that show up for fresh Georgia peaches, homemade baked goods, and Dickey Farms Peach Ice Cream.

Dickey Peaches
Photo credit: Freshplaza.com 

Dickey Farms is amidst its 125th season, a feat that is both impressive and telling. The Dickey’s have shown that through hard work, reliance on family, and caring for the peach trees to the best of your ability, a legacy can be built to last multiple lifetimes.
As I stand up from my rocker on the packhouses’ front porch, I give Cynde a hug before I turn to leave. Behind me people are browsing the shelves, smiling while they enjoy a peach ice cream, and filling their baskets with some of the best peaches that Georgia has to offer.
Lauren at Dickey Farm
Photo: Me visiting Dickey Farms in May 2020.

I highly recommend you visit Dickey Farms in Musella, Georgia.
Don't Live Locally? No Problem..THEY SHIP!
See Hours & More Information about Dickey Farms.

Photo Credit for Cover Photo: FarmFlavor.Com
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