Where to Find Apple-Picking Fun in North Carolina
Here are six orchards your family can visit for apple fun and treats
Photo courtesy of Olga Enger/Shutterstock.com
September is prime apple-picking season at Carolina orchards. The largest North Carolina crops come from Henderson County, just outside of Asheville, and include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and sweet Gala varieties. Hendersonville also hosts the annual North Carolina Apple Festival each Labor Day weekend.
Here's where your family can pick a peck of apples, sip on cider and sample homemade apple butter, apple-cider doughnuts and apple-cider slushes.
Note: Please call ahead or check the website to ensure apples are still available for picking.
This orchard is located close to the Triangle near Asheboro. Every weekend of September is AppleFest — an event offering apple-picking, hayrides, storytime with Johnny Appleseed, apple-pie-eating contests, apple bobbing and more. Admission is $8, and free for children under age 2. In October, the orchard switches to Oktoberfest, an event featuring pumpkin- and gourd-picking opposed to apples.
AppleFest happens Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, 1-5 p.m. 506 Parks Crossroad Church Road, Ramseur
If you don't have an entire day to head to the mountains, Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill in York, S.C., and grows Stayman Winesap apples. The website warns that this may be a short apple picking season so stay tune to the orchard's calendar to see updated events. Everyone age 2 and older must have their own prepurchased bag to enter the orchard. Bags can be purchased at the farm stand. Prices range from $5-$25. Be sure to check out the hard-cider tastings and live music, and try an apple cider doughnut or fried apple pie.
The orchard is open for pick-your-own apples on Friday afternoons, Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons starting Sept. 8. 1860 Black Highway, York, S.C.
Carrigan Farms is located in Mooresville and has apples ripe for the picking beginning in September. Cost is $11 per person, and includes a half peck bag of apples, plus a hayride to the orchard.
1261 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy., Mooresville
Take a daytrip to Flat Rock, North Carolina to pick apples at Sky Top Orchard. This orchard offers 22 varieties of apples for picking. Check out the ripening schedule to make sure you come at a time to pick your favorite types. You'll also find great mountain views at this orchard, where you can enjoy apple cider slushies, apple cider doughnuts and hot caramel apples. There are barnyard animals to visit, a playground for kids and picnic areas. You can also watch a cider press at work.
Open daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. August-October. Note GPS directions aren't always accurate, so use this address if using a GPS: 3403 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock.
This orchard two is open May-October. McIntosh apples become ripe at this location as early as late August and Red Delicious apples are in season until mid-October, with lots of other apples in between. Apples are $10 a peck or $6 a half peck. The orchard even offers picking poles so your little ones can try to reach apples on higher branches.
Go on a storytelling hayride, a guided storytelling or nature walk, and color or play checkers in the Kids’ Corner. Check the schedule for live music and other fun events. The orchard received a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support of its children’s programs and the foundation will be sponsoring Super Saturdays this fall, a program of Appalachian Heritage Activities for children ages 6-12.
Open daily Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 1025 Orchard Road, Spruce Pine
Apple Hill Orchard is located just a few miles off of I-40 in Morganton (near Hickory). In addition to picking apples, explore the cider mill, bakery and country store. The apple picking season starts in August for Gala and Arlet apples and continues until late October with 12 other apple varieties available.
Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sundays. 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave., Morganton