Apple-picking season is in full swing! There’s an added pleasure to biting into the crisp and juicy apples of fall when you know that you’ve plucked them from the tree yourself. The Daily South picked some spots on the East Coast to go apple picking- but hurry! The season ends any time from Halloween to the first weeks of November.
The first crop of apples at Scott’s Orchard in Hazel Green was produced in 1927, and today the farm is nearly 1,000 acres. After harvesting your apples, pick extras to bake into the farm’s delicious apple brownie recipe.
Outside of Cullman’s Germantown, Steele Orchard‘s in-depth tours of their grounds are great for groups or curious kids. The tour includes a storytelling of “Johnny Appleseed,” a lesson on apple nutrition, plus a showcase of the apple picking and washing process.
The apple capital of Georgia is in Ellijay, where the Georgia Apple Festival takes place on the weekends of October 10 to 11, and 17 to 18.
Close by in Blue Ridge, you’ll find Mercier Orchards, a u-pick spot where guests are driven in a tractor out to the orchard to pick apples ranging from Fuji and Suncrisp to Cameo and Ambrosia. Started back in 1943 by Bill & Adele Mercier, the orchard now celebrates over 70 years of fruitful harvests. Stop by the store to stock up on apple butters, jams, and taste their hard cider- pressed, fermented and bottled on-site.
Those that visit Ayres Family Orchard in Owenton may have encountered the owner, Larry Ayres. He took over his father’s orchard after serving as a forensic pathologist for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and now spends his time taking guests around the orchard. He’ll tell exact stories of how that apple came to be, even showing the process from picking apples to turning them to cider and jam.
At Jackson’s Orchard in Bowling Green, the orchard is home to more than 7,000 trees. The Jackson family has run the orchard for 50 years and grows apple varieties including Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Lodi, Ginger Gold and more.
Shelbyville’s Mulberry Orchard grows 16 varieties of apples in their apple orchard. Come the last weekend in September, take a hayride through the 4,000-plus tree orchard to the pumpkin patch. Come picking on Wednesday through Sunday so you can visit the Mulberry Kitchen. On the menu: pulled pork with apple chunks served on a pretzel bun, hand-pattied burgers made from beef raised on the farm, and apple-honey slaw made with Mulberry Orchard’s honey and apples.
Henderson County is the largest apple-producing county in North Carolina with more than 13 orchards. Coston Farm & Apple House is a fourth generation orchard. Look out for Stayman, King Luscious and Black Arkansas in early October.
Hillcrest Orchards offers great photo opportunities with its storybook red open-air barn leading into the orchard. The farm also grows pumpkins and allows visitors to pick pumpkins off the vines.
Roba Family Orchard in North Abington Township is a family-owned farm and orchard in the scenic Pennsylvania countryside. With its location just two hours from the urban hubs of Philadelphia and New York City, it makes for a perfect day trip. The orchard offers 17 varieties of fresh apples for visitors to pick. Distract the little ones with hayrides, a corn maze, farm animals and a pumpkin patch. The orchard is only open through October 31, so take advantage of the exclusive apple picking window.
Apple Valley Orchards in Cleveland started with just a few apple trees in the backyard in 1974. Now, decades later the orchard boasts 15,000 trees. The orchard developed a variety of apple called the Caitlin Gala, named after the owners’ daughter. Visit the bakery for amazing fried pies that were named by our magazine among the “Best Pies in the South.”
Picking apples at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville is magical, as the orchard sits on the top of a mountain. The surroundings provide a spectacular view of the Charlottesville area Blue Ridge Mountains.
Showalter’s Orchard sits above the Shenandoah Valley on 40 acres of rolling mountaintop land. Visitors can u-pick more than 26 varieties of apples. Also on the property is Old Hill Hard Cidery, made from heirloom cider-specific apple varieties. The reserve Cidermaker’s Barrel boasts a complex flavor profile with hints of vanilla, baked fruits and charred oak.
Interested in knowing exactly what to pick before you get to the orchard? Dickie Brothers Orchard in Roseland posts daily on the website to let visitors know what is ripe for picking and what is pre-picked. Visit through November when the pumpkin patch is open.