Less than five miles southwest of Porter, in the “Peach Capital of Oklahoma”, you’ll find Livesay Orchards, the largest producer of the famous Porter Peaches and the largest peach orchard in Oklahoma.
In the 1940s, Austin Livesay made his way through Wagoner County, Oklahoma, on business and stumbled upon a large piece of land for sale. The then cotton farmer was captivated at the composition and wellness of its soil and envisioned nothing but the potential of what the acreage could offer.
At the time, he couldn’t afford to purchase the land, and a year later when he had the money, it was no longer available. He waited over twenty years for the opportunity to make the ground his own, and his patience did not go without recompense—Livesay Orchards is now a third-generation farm owned by his great-nephews and their wives, Steve and Brenda Livesay and Kent and Dawna Livesay.
More than peaches
And while Livesay Orchards is the largest peach orchard in the state with 150 acres of peach trees, peaches aren't the only crop on their operation. The Livesay's have over 15 acres of apples, 30 acres of watermelon and cantaloupe, 30 acres of pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn, blackberries and a cattle operation. Additionally, they double crop their wheat, corn and soybeans to harvest 4,500 acres with only 3,000 acres of land.
Over the years, the Livesays designed their operation to incorporate ergonomically diverse vegetation to maximize production in their geographic terrain. In fact, the entire third and fourth generations used their college degrees and life experiences to pour knowledge and development back into the family business.
Several other families live on the farm grounds to help make their operation successful. In fact, many of these families are multigenerational workers that have been involved on the farm since the 1980s.
Efficiency is key
They also implemented ag-smart engineering to allow more efficient harvesting. For example, the Livesays installed a rotating trellis system for their blackberry crops. By laying the blackberry plant parallel to the ground, it encourages the plant to bear fruit on the side facing the sun. When it’s ready to harvest, the trellis is retuned to its original position which is at an angle that enables harvesters to gather fruit on one side of the plant. This creates a more streamlined picking process while also providing some shade from the summer sun.
In addition to their trellised blackberries, they installed an apple tree trellis in the orchard. These innovative efforts are a staple in the family’s constant strive to be as productive as possible while also maintaining healthy soil and flourishing trees on their land. Hours of research and care go into each crop variety grown on the farm making sure they have the best available products for consumers, while also being open to educating the public on how their food goes from farm to table.
During the fall season, the Livesay Orchard becomes a community staple for fun and activities for schools and families to learn more about their operation and the agriculture industry as a whole. During the week, school groups are welcomed to go to the Red Barn Theater and learn about apples and pumpkins.