Best Bets for Where to Pick Apples in the Carolinas
September is prime apple-picking season in the Carolinas. Plan a trip to pick apples and create a fall family tradition.
September is prime apple-picking season at Carolina orchards. The largest N.C. 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 N.C. Apple Festival each Labor Day weekend. Here are a few best bests for where to pick a peck of apples, sip on cider and sample homemade apple butter, apple-cider doughnuts and apple-cider slushes.
If you don't have an entire day to head to the mountains, Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill is just an hour southwest of Charlotte 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 their calendar to see updated events. Everyone 2 years of age and older must have their own pre-purchased bag to enter the orchard. Bags can be purchased at the farm stand. Prices range from $5-$25. Also be sure to check out their 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 about 40 minutes from uptown Charlotte in Mooresville. The farm 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 is an hour and forty-five minutes from Charlotte and has 22 varieties of apples good for picking. Check out their 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 slushes, apple-cider doughnuts and hot caramel apples. There also 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 hours from Charlotte is open from May until 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 the apples on higher branches.
Go on a story-telling hayride, a guided story-telling or nature walk, 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 to 12.
Open daily Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 1025 Orchard Road, Spruce Pine
This day trip is only an hour and twenty minutes from Charlotte. 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 twelve other apple varieties available.
Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sundays. 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave., Morganton
This orchard is located about one hour and forty minutes from Charlotte near Asheboro. Every weekend of September is AppleFest — an event with 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 with 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