Frozen treats served up at local, family-owned peach farm

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Frozen treats served up at local, family-owned peach farm

On Buncombe Road in Greer, this family-owned peach farm serves up ice cream and history to its customers. Photo: Molly Waits

Upon entering Dillard’s Farms Inc. Ice Cream, located about 12 minutes from campus on Buncombe Road in Greer, you are immediately engulfed by the family atmosphere and peach farm history. The small ice cream parlor is painted a soft orange on the inside, and the walls are covered with peach decorations and pictures from the community.

Dillard’s has been a family peach farm since the early 1920s, with the original trees having been planted by the grandfather of Sonya Dillard, the current store owner. Originally, the family only shipped their peaches, but in 1974 as the roadside market business became more popular, Lemuel Dillard, Sonya’s father, opened a peach stand. From this stand, a fruit and vegetable farmers market has grown.

Recently this part of Dillard’s has switched hands to the Fishers, another family who’s been in the business for multiple generations and owns several other farmers markets in the area. All sorts of summer fruits and vegetables can be found here, along with jams, jellies and honey.

After bad weather destroyed an entire crop of peaches in 1996, Lenuel Dillard opened the ice cream parlor. When the farmers market portion of the business was sold, the parlor was retained by the Dillards.

“We always have enjoyed ice cream,” Dillard said. “And we have visited other peach businesses that have expanded into ice cream.”

Now Dillard’s is well known in the area for its delicious ice cream, low prices and friendly staff of local high school students.

“It’s a lot of our high schoolers’ first jobs,” Dillard said, “kids from our church or community.”

Not only are the workers local, but the ice cream is locally made as well. A small town in North Carolina produces all of the ice cream sold at Dillard’s. And with more than 28 varieties of ice cream, from peach to butter pecan, Dillard’s has a flavor for everyone. Customers can try different flavors new to this season like Charleston sea salt caramel.

Ice cream can be bought in kid’s, regular and large portions in a cup or in a sugar or waffle cone. If you want something a little more complex than just a cup or cone, Dillard’s also offers sundaes and their famous banana split.

“We’re known for our good ice cream and generous portions,” Dillard said. “Sometimes our line is out the door, literally.”

Besides ice cream, Dillard also offers fresh desserts made at a local bakery. Items such as a strawberry cheesecake made with fresh strawberries, or a decadent chocolate cake that barely fits in the display can be enjoyed for $3.50 a slice.

Dillard’s is a great place for family and friends to get together and enjoy one another’s company. With indoor booths, outdoor picnic tables and plans for a gazebo, Dillard’s is the perfect hangout. “It’s just a fun, family-friendly environment,” Dillard said.

Dillard’s is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Only cash or checks are accepted. The farmers market, which can be found on the left side of the building that houses the ice cream parlor, is not currently open, but will be opening at the beginning of strawberry season in about a month.