The sweet smell of peaches is noticeable near the tall white tent off of Cerrillos Road across from the Denny's. Boxes upon boxes upon boxes of fuzzy red and pink peaches are stacked in the sun, along with long green beans and ripe cherry tomatoes.
Matt Hauser and his business partner and 11 employees are pulling 22-hour days up in Palisade, Colorado, in order to bring the city's famous 36 different varieties of peaches to Santa Fe.
On July 3, Hauser sold out his entire inventory of peaches before 2pm – that's 32 boxes. It was his first day of bringing the soft fruit down to Santa Fe for the season. He would have brought more, but that's all his crew was able to pick.
This is the fourth year that Hauser's company, Peach Valley Produce, has set up shop in Santa Fe. For the first three years there were out front of Jackalope. This is the first year that Hauser had to find a new location to sell his peaches and produce—he became too popular for the original location and the new-ish owners asked him to move.
"I don't think they realized how big a business we were going to turn everything into. I brought 40,000 people into that parking lot last year over four months," Hauser tells SFR as he helps two women pick out the sweetest apricots.
Although Hauser has been relying on word of mouth and social media to spread the word about his new location, so far he hasn't had any trouble surpassing his sales record. The stand off of Cerrillos has only been open for three weeks and yet he reports it's already doing better this year than this same time last year.
It is a seven-hour drive from Palisade to Santa Fe with a stop at their longtime stand in Durango to sell, on average, 800 to 1,000 pounds of peaches each day just in Santa Fe. That's about 40 to 50 boxes.
He has no plans to stop coming to Santa Fe in the coming years. Hauser wants to be here at least a decade.
"The community is so in tune with each other here. Everyone knows each other, everyone talks to each other. It's a really tight knit community and that's how we build things up," Hauser tells SFR as he helps bag fruit for another group of customers.
Standing behind lines of homemade chokeberry jam, raw honey and syrups made from fresh fruit, Hauser says that it's Palisade's unique climate that makes the best peaches in the world. It gets up to 106 degrees during the day, which builds the sugars in the peaches and then sinks to 60 degrees at night, which sets the sugars in the peaches.
"You can't fight Mother Nature. You can plan all you want but it's so dynamic," Hauser says of the 1,200 fruit trees and 300 tomato plants that he has in his "front yard."
Even with the steady incline in business, Hauser hasn't raised his prices in 15 years since he first bought the farm with his business partner, Jeremy Swiger. He isn't planning on raising them either, although he says the rising costs of diesel fuel and labor will probably make that a necessity. For now, they're absorbing it.
Right now, peaches sold by weight cost 75 cent to a $1. But they can increase to $4 for one peach when the individual fruit start to get up to a pound a half. That's when you have to stand in the shower to eat them.
From now until mid-October, Hauser will be there underneath his white tent surrounded by produce picked early that morning and the peaches are likely to last through e arly September.
Currently he's also stocking Rainier cherries, peaches, apricots, green beans, spanish squash, zucchini, beets, summer squash, tomatoes, garlic, homemade breads and canned goods and blackberries that taste like sweet sunshine.