Driving through Georgia on a major interstate road you’ll likely see dozens of signs for Peach World. Like the signs for Florida Citrus Centers in Florida, or South of the Border signs in South Carolina, the repeated Peach World signs form a mantra in the mind — billboard hypnosis that compels the curious to eventually stop at one of these roadside markets.
Georgia, of course, is known for its production of peaches, and Peach World is an orange shrine to peaches and peach-based foods.
I visited my first Peach World in December of 2019 returning from a road trip to Miami. To be honest, it wasn’t Peaches or the hypnotic, meme-mnemonics of seeing a Peach World sign every mile — it was Boiled Peanuts. Throughout my travels in the South, I saw hundreds of signs for Boiled Peanuts. Peach World had them, and that was enough for me to stop.
The exterior of the Peach World was what you might expect: an orange-colored (not “peach”) building (if you think about it, peaches are mostly orange & yellow, not pink/”peach”) with a sign that reads Peach World. Both the sign and the ramp needed cleaning with a power washer. The grounds featured a donkey & pony, which you’re free to feed corn and an eye-catching orange VW Bug.
The interior was very clean (no need for power-washing). One side featured the cash register and various machines to make peach-flavored ice cream and boiled peanuts. The rest of the shop was packed tight with wooden shelves & tables, packed even tighter with so much good stuff — pretty much everything you can imagine that incorporates peaches, peanuts, pecans, and anything you can bake, dry, or otherwise preserve. And a minimal amount of souvenirs — magnets, shirts, glassware. The proprietor was perfect — not pushy, but eager to entertain any question about Peach World and the confections it offers.
Much of the food I encountered was not easily found in New Jersey (where I’m from). New Jersey has its fair share of farmers markets & foods, it’s known for (tomatoes, corn, blueberries, cranberries, pork roll, salt-water taffy) — but there’s nothing like a Peach World or Florida Citrus World in New Jersey — there’s no “Jersey Corn Country” or “Jersey Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese Planet”. I purchased a case of various jarred foods — peach cobbler in a jar, peaches, okra, tiny corn cobs, & quail eggs. They were all fantastic, but the cobbler & quail eggs were a revelation — both I would definitely get again, whether on the road or via mail-order.
Now, onto the boiled peanuts — the reason I stopped in the first place. They’re literally peanuts in the shell that have been boiled. You get a heaping hot bagful — and if you let it be known that you’re eating them on a road trip, you’ll get a plastic bag and napkins so your hands, lap & car doesn’t turn into a swampy mess of hot peanut juice. I recommend giving them a try. They’re warm and soft — almost like a tiny potato — any they taste like shelled peanuts, not like peanut butter.
It’s worth contrasting Peach World with a Florida Citrus World. While I’ve only been to one of each, they’re as different as they are similar. Peach World focuses on preserved foods & baked goods, like Florida Citrus World is more bags of citrus fruit & candy. Florida Citrus World’s souvenir section of t-shirts, glassware, alligator toys & other tchotchkes dwarfs the minimal souvenir selection of Peach World. Both have animals — I’m sure it varies by location — but Florida CW’s got baby gators. I guess, if you’re like me, you have to stop at both, at least once, but because the foods are so good at Peach World, it’s more memorable.
Here’s the Peach World website. If they have it, I recommend the peach cobbler in a jar.
If you visit in person, and you visit the same location I did, be sure to feed the donkey & pony.
Last visit: December 10th, 2019.