Apple-picking around Western North Carolina is a favorite fall pastime, and everything that comes with an outing to an orchard – think corn mazes, hay rides, and chowing down on warm apple fritters – is what makes autumn in Asheville extra special. With the season starting up, now is the perfect time to experience an enjoyable afternoon of all things apple at one of the area’s many orchards.
Henderson County apple orchards
Henderson County, 25 miles south of Asheville, is the largest apple-producing one in the North Carolina, which is the seventh-largest apple-producing state in the country. That adds up to a lot of apple-picking opportunities! Between Hendersonville and Chimney Rock along Highway 64, a number of orchards beckon with pick-your-own or pre-picked apples, as well as country markets featuring ciders, apple cider doughnuts, apple fritters, apple cider slushies, jams and the like.
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard
This fourth generation working farm offers mountain views to go along with pick-your-own apples, grapes and pumpkins, as well as a market brimming with cider, apple butter and other gifts. Stepp’s offers farm wagon rides through its orchards and pumpkin patch, as well as the ever-popular apple canons. https://steppapples.com
Pre-picked or pick-your-own apples await you at this popular orchard. Grandad’s Barn and Country Store boasts fall decorations and an array of apple-related gifts, as well as apple turnovers, fried pies, apple bread, caramel apples and ice cream. There’s also a corn maze set against a backdrop of long-range mountain views. https://www.grandadsapples.com
Offering u-pick or we-pick applies, blackberries and pumpkins, Justus has farm animals and a Cow Train through the orchard to entertain the entire family. The store sells honey, jams, jellies, preserves and other homemade goods, as well as fried apple pies, cider slushies, caramels and more. The orchard also offers mountain cabbage, sweet potatoes and other local fall vegetables. https://justusorchard.com
Sky Top Orchard
Along with pick-your-own apples, Sky Top in Flat Rock offers u-pick peaches, Asian pears and grapes. Make an afternoon of it with a visit to the orchard ponds with ducks and geese, a barnyard with sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys and peacocks, and a bamboo forest for exploring. http://www.skytoporchard.com
Waynesville/Sylva area orchards
This fruit stand and bakery is a local favorite. Stop in for a variety of fresh apples, as well as other fall produce. The bakery is known for its apple turnovers, fritters and pies. https://www.facebook.com/BarberOrchardFruitstand
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