Located just outside of Ft. Valley, in the heart of Middle Georgia, Lane Southern Orchards has been growing peaches and pecans for more than 110 years. The farming operation that now totals more than 10,000 acres was started in 1908 by John David Duke as Diamond Fruit Farm. At that time, peaches were shipped in wooden baskets, which Mr. Duke also manufactured on the farm.
Eventually, Mr. Duke's grandson, Duke Lane Sr., or “Big Duke” as he was called until his death in December 2014, took over the reins and the farm thrived under his leadership for many years. The present packing house, a state-of-the-art facility, was completed in 1990 and remains one of the most modern and efficient packing houses in the industry, with the capacity to pack and ship up to one million 25 pound cartons of peaches per season.
In 2006, Lane Packing Company, as it was then known, was purchased by Lane Southern Orchards, led by Sid and Rusty Banack of Vero Beach, Florida, who have grown, packed and shipped world famous Indian River Citrus for almost 50 years. Together, the two companies can now offer their customers a year around supply of premium farm fresh peaches, oranges, grapefruit and pecans!
Lane Southern Orchards purchased Taylor Orchards in 2018 adding 3,000 acres of peaches and an additional 950 acres of row crops including peanuts and soybeans to the Fort Valley-based operation. In addition to existing acreage, the company’s aggressive growth plan includes an additional planting in 2018 of 700 acres of new peach production and 1,000 new acres dedicated to pecans, resulting in more than 10,000 acres under cultivation.
Today, with several fourth and fifth generation members of the Lane family still involved, the company continues to grow, having added a sizable farm market, restaurant, bakery and catering divisions to serve local customers as well as the 300,000 visitors each year.