SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

August 15, 2013

Keen on peaches?

Festival offers fruit, fun and a good cause

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — It will be a peachy Saturday in Danvers as Connors Farm holds its first peach festival, while also raising money for breast cancer research.

“We decided this would be a great way to kick it off,” said Bob Connors, the farm’s owner.

While this is his first festival to celebrate the peach crop’s arrival, Connors has been growing the fruit for 18 years. This year, he has about 300 trees in production.

“We just picked a handful of peaches, and they look spectacular,” he said.

During the festival, visitors can pick their own peaches or just indulge in the farm’s peach cobbler.

“We went to work in our bakery and tried three recipes for peach cobbler,” Connors said. “I think we got the one we like, with all good, old-fashioned ingredients, no preservatives.” Served, of course, with a dollop of whipped cream.

A DJ will provide music, and there will be lots of activities for children.

“A lot of our fall activities are open,” Connors said. “We have pedal carts, jumping pillows, cow train rides, duck races and spider webs.”

The webs are made of ropes and are perfect for young children to crawl on, Connors said.

Children can ride ponies, and visitors are welcome to feed other animals on display.

“We have donkeys, a llama, chickens, ducks, rabbits and goats, and we have sheep,” Connors said.

Part of the proceeds from the $6 admission will go to breast cancer research.

“Three women approached us back in the spring and wanted to do a fundraiser,” Connor said.

One member of that trio, Elaine Seifert of Peabody, is a nine-year breast cancer survivor, said Ruth DeSoto, another member of the group.

“The three of us have been fundraising since 2005,” said DeSoto, who is also from Peabody.

They have held bake sales at Lahey Clinic, where Seifert and DeSoto both work as nurses in the recovery room, and have sold raffle tickets for dinners donated by local restaurants. They have also held country-western dances at the home of the third member of their group, Ham Glass of Danvers. In all, they’ve raised about $9,000 a year since they started, DeSoto said.

They will be offering several raffles at the peach festival, including one for an antique doll house that Glass has restored.

The three partners were further motivated to raise money this year by the death in April of Bridget Spence.

“She was 29. She’d had breast cancer since she was 21,” DeSoto said. “She lived in Boston for many years and was well-known in the breast-cancer community. She had an impact on all of us.”

Spence recorded her struggles with breast cancer and treatments for her disease, in a blog called “My Big Girl Pants.”

“She was able to spend more time with her family because of clinical research,” DeSoto said. “We really want to focus on research and finding a cure.”

PEACH FESTIVAL What: Pick-your-own peaches, peach cobbler, pony rides, children's activities, farm animals to visit, raffles When: Saturday, Aug. 17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Rain date Sunday, Aug. 18.) Where: Connors Farm, 30 Valley Road (Route 35), Danvers Admission: $6 per person; portion of proceeds benefits National Breast Cancer Foundation. Separate charges for: peach cobbler, ice cream, barbecue food, pick-your-own peaches, pony rides. Information: 978-777-1245