TAMPA, Fla. - As soon as the gates to the Florida State Fair opened Sunday, people immediately started lining up outside one of the three trucks belonging to Peachey's Baking Company, waiting to sink their teeth into hot, hand-rolled pretzels and glaze-dripping donuts.
"We come to the fair every year, for the food, specifically for the Peachey's Donuts," said mom & daughter Nancy and Jazzy Williams, who traveled from New Port Richey to bring some home.
"Every year we have a tradition, that we come and eat the donut first thing in the morning," said Eddie Perez alongside his family.
The mouthwatering delicacies are from recipes crafted by owner Nate Peachey himself, who grew up in an Amish family and loved baking with his mother as a little boy.
"We would sit around a big dinner table, all eight kids plus parents every night, and we ate the food we made with my mom," Peachey recalled. "The pretzels and donuts are what you would find in an Amish bakery in Pennsylvania."
Little did he know, years down the road, they would be a saving grace after losing his job in construction back in 2009.
"We still had a few pieces of bakery equipment left over from our bakery years ago. My dad had it in a storage unit and I got it out, cleaned it up and put this donut recipe together and started making donuts every Wednesday at a farmer's market in Sarasota just to bridge me over to the next job," Peachey added.
Thanks to endless love from loyal customers, Nate snagged a spot at the Florida State Fair in 2011, and the rest became homemade history.
"We thought we had a good day when we made 500 donuts on a Saturday out here in 2011," Peachey laughed. "Now with our three stands combined, we'll be doing close to 10,000 donuts, on some weekends. So it's come a long way."
Similar numbers and two-hour lines are also a norm when Nate's team serves these treats at other massive state fairs across the country.
"Along with Minnesota, which is the largest in the country, we do the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, the New York State Fair in Syracuse, the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York, the North Carolina Fair in Raleigh, North Carolina and the Strawberry Festival here," Peachey added. "But the Florida State Fair will always be home."
Peachey honors his mother every day, making customers smile with the donuts she loved feeding her children. But, it's a business he's eager to pass down to the next generation of Peachey's, starting with his first child he and his wife are expecting this week.
"One of the best things I learned from my parents is learning how to do this and learning how to support myself and then support my family, Peachey stressed. "My kids will definitely have the opportunity."