From peaches to boiled peanuts, hayrides, pumpkins, and corn mazes, Jaemor Farms is a place for families, friends, community, and memories. The story behind a place that has existed for six generations floats throughout the tri-county area of Hall, Banks, and Habersham following the death of its founder, Jim Echols.
Echols, who passed away on December 22 at the age of 87, grew up on the farm. His life story centered around family values and hard work. It’s a story that began with his parents, George and Vernie Echols, who began farming peaches in 1912.
It started with peaches
“My grandparents named the farm Echols Orchards and started with peach trees and row crops. Their focus changed solely to peaches and other fruits and vegetables that were sold on roadside stands off Old Cornelia Highway,” said Tim Echols.
In the days following his father’s death, Echols spoke with Now Habersham about his father, grandparents, and their legacy.
Jim Echols was born on December 18, 1936, in Hall County, Georgia. He and his wife, Valvoreth, founded Jaemor Farms in 1981 when the construction of Interstate 985 and Georgia Highway 365 presented an opportunity for an on-farm shopping experience.
“We are probably one of the first privately owned farm markets in the country and definitely near the forefront selling what we grew,” Tim added.
A name and a legacy
Echols Orchard was changed to JAEMOR farms – an acronym for the owners Jimmy Allen Echols and Valvoreth Morrison Echols. The couple had 5 children, daughter Teresa and sons Tim, Jarl, Judah, and Jonathan; 20 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren with the 40th great-grandchild on the way.
“In the early 2000s, Jaemor took off. It was something to see my parents enjoy how things had developed and grown,” Tim said. “My dad wasn’t afraid to try something new. When Drew (grandson) came to him about developing a corn maze, my dad chuckled that he couldn’t believe people would pay to walk around in a cornfield, but he was willing to try it.”
Tim expressed his appreciation for the work ethic his grandparents and parents instilled in him and his siblings.
“When Dad worked on the farm for his parents, it was to put food on the table. For us, Dad was able to pay us, most of the time before he and Mom even took a salary.”
When asked what he felt was his dad’s legacy, Tim explained, “For Dad, it was about service to the community. It wasn’t just about food. He wanted an overall experience – the atmosphere of the place, and he wanted everyone to feel his or her visit to Jaemor was worthwhile.”
For many years, Mr. Echols would have the boys bring his pump organ to the store, and he would play it for the customers. 2021 was the last time he was able to do so because of his failing health.
Jaemor customers can enjoy a wide variety of items: homegrown strawberries, blackberries, muscadines, scuppernongs, Concord grapes, watermelon, squash, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, and more during the harvest season.
The Echols opened the corn maze in 2006.
On average, Jaemor sees more than a million customers annually.
Farm, family, and faith were the cornerstones of Jim Echols’ life. He and his wife worked hard to leave a legacy that will continue for many generations.