By Thomas Sellers Jr.
For nearly eight decades, thousands of customers have made the trip to one of the Jones family’s locations, smelling the seasonal fruits and vegetables, touching the pick-of-the-day, eyeballing the variety of homemade products and even tasting the original menu items.
As for the fifth sense of hearing, the Jones family and staff chat about a range of topics for what’s in the fields to how the children are doing in school. A part of the Millington fabric, Jones Orchard is closing out year 78 with fresh produce, a Halloween-themed maze throughout October and treats for the holidays.
“My father-in-law, H.L. ‘Peaches’ Jones, started it in 1940,” Juanita Jones recalled. “We’ve branched out so much. When Mr. Jones was alive, he and my husband Lee W. ran it until about the mid-1990s.”
The longtime Millington business is still family operated and has expanded to two markets at 7170 Highway 51 North and 6850 Singleton Parkway. The third Jones Orchard location is a pick-your-own format on Big Creek Church Road.
“The open-air does operate by season,” Ms. Juanita noted. “This one over here (Highway 51), we generally will close two or three weeks after Christmas.
“Then open up part-time until the strawberries come in,” she added. “That’s about April. From April to December we’re wide open, seven days a week.”
Jones Orchard is not only a part of the Millington fabric, but also the business has grown strong relationships in the industry around the Mid-South.
“During the season, most any fresh fruit or vegetable we can get locally,” Juanita said. “We try not to bring in out-of-country items. Our main thing is what we grow and what we get from local farmers. But it’s mostly what we grow.”
What can you find in the fields of Jones Orchard? Patrons have visited the Orchard for strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, pumpkins, nectarines, some apples, Keifer pears and a variety of items in jars.
“We do them in jars because we think the jars are a safer option now,” Jones noted. “Jars are the safer way opposed to the cans. And we do everything in our kitchen here. We bring it straight out of the field into our kitchen and put them in jars. We think that is a real plus for us because that is something you cannot get everywhere else.”
Staying ahead of the curves means the Joneses sometimes keep an eye on colleagues.
“I’ll tell you something the Joneses will do: If we are within 100 miles of a roadside market from here to California, from here to Canada, we’ve got to stop,” Juanita said. “Of course I notice their can items or jarred items. A lot of the time it was distributed by or distributed for. Ours are done right here. That’s something you don’t see very often. It’s a unique position to be in where you have a lot of variety of things we can do from our own fields. We’re very proud of that.”
As September closes out, the Highway 51 location is decorated with tomatoes. Juanita and crew are busy transforming the fruit into multiple items like Jones’ Garden Salsa, Jones’ Chow Chow, Jones’ Peach Salsa, Jones’ Flamin’ Hot Salsa and Jones’ Stewed Tomatoes.
Also underway at the 51 location is pick-your-own greens. Juanita said everyone is invited to enjoy a day in the field and get a taste of a Millington tradition.
“Pride in our products, we try to put out a quality product,” she said. “We try our best to have it in a safe environment. We like families to come and start young. And see where things are grown.
“We’re probably successful because of a hands-on environment and hands-on atmosphere where they can come and pick their own on many items too,” Juanita concluded.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star. The Journal West 10 Media LLC Know Your Biz is a weekly feature in all publications to promote local businesses including Millington and South Tipton. In interested in getting your business profiled, contact Thomas Sellers Jr. by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.