Fall is upon us, and that means it is apple season in Western North Carolina! North Carolina is one of the largest producers of apples in the United States. Henderson County is home to most of the orchards in western NC! Living in Avalon, you have lots of great orchards all around you that you can visit! Each orchard offers more than just picking the apples and have activities to entertain the entire family.
Best Apple Picking in Western North Carolina
Grandad’s Apple N’Such
This is an 80 acre farm in Hendersonville, NC. You can pick your own apples or buy pre-picked ones. The orchard grows 20 different varieties of apples, such as Golden Supreme, Cortland, Red Rome, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and more. While you are there, visit the Barn and Country Store for homemade goodies, such as apple turnovers, bread, and cider. On weekends, there are family friendly activities, like the corn maze and animal barn, where you can meet and feed the farm animals. The orchard also harvests pumpkins. You can walk through the pumpkin patch and choose the perfect one for you! It’s open every day from 9am to 5pm. (Visit grandadsapples.com for more information.)
Located in Hendersonville, NC. The 4th generation orchard grows 19 different apple varieties, such as Gala, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and more. You may pick your own apples or buy ones that have already been picked by the staff. If you go in The Apple House, located beside the parking lot, you may sample the different types of apples before you buy, to decide which kind you like best. Here, you can also buy apple cider donuts, fried apple pies, apple bread, cider, and fresh, local vegetables. This orchard has lots of kid friendly activities, such as a duck pond, a cow train that kids can ride through the orchard, and farm animals. They also grow blackberries in the summer and pumpkins in the fall that you can pick. The orchard is open daily from 8:30am to 6pm. (Visit justusorchard.com for more information.)
Sky Top Orchard
Sky Top Orchard is the Best of WNC 2017 award winner and is located in beautiful Flat Rock, NC. You can pick your own apples or just buy bagged apples here. The orchard grows 22 kinds of apples, such as Pink Lady, Arkansas Black, McIntosh, Gingergold, Gala, Red Delicious, and more. You can also pick peaches, Asian pears, and grapes when they are in season at Sky Top. While you are at the orchard, there are free apple and cider samples, and you can indulge in treats by buying apple cider donuts, caramel and fudge apples, and cider. There are also family activities, like the hayride, a nature trail along a pond, and a barnyard with ducks, goats, chickens, and sheep. Beautiful mountain views surround the orchard, as well! The orchard is open every day from 9am to 6pm. (For more information, visit skytoporchard.com)
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard
Also in Hendersonville, NC Steep’s Hillcrest Orchard is a 4th generation working farm and has been open for apple picking for 45 years. The orchard grows 20 different kinds of apples, such as Mutsu, Gala, Jonagold, Fuji, Jonathan, Ultra Gold, and more. At the Country Store, located at the orchard, you may buy pre-picked apples, apple cider donuts, apple salsa, apple butter, and more. When they are in season, you may also pick grapes and pumpkins at Stepp’s Hillcrest, too. There are special activities at the orchard, such as a 5 acre corn maze and a nature trail. On the weekends, you can take a wagon ride through the orchard or try shooting at targets with the apple cannon. The orchard is open Sunday from 10am to 6pm; Monday through Thursday from 8am to 5:30pm; and Friday and Saturday from 8am to 6pm. (For more information, visit steppapples.com)
The Orchard at Altapass
Located in Spruce Pine, NC. The Orchard at Altapass grows 40 varieties of apples, such as Yellow Transparent, Red York, Virginia Beauty, King Luscious, Red Delicious, McIntosh, and more. The orchard offers more than just apples, though. Preserving and teaching about mountain culture are important to the people who run the orchard, and a number of family friendly activities here reflect that. You can enjoy free music and dances performances Wednesday – Sunday from May to September and on weekends in October. There is also a Storytelling Hayride on Saturday and Sunday from May through October at 1pm, 2pm, and 4:30pm, where storytellers tell the history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is a Monarch butterfly preservation project at the orchard, where butterflies are raised and released. You can enjoy hiking trails and beautiful mountain scenery, as well. The orchard is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. (Visit altapassorchard.org for more information.)
Barber Orchard Fruit Stand
This gem is in Waynesville, NC. This is not an orchard! If picking your own apples or visiting an orchard just does not appeal to you, but you want fresh, mountain grown apples, this is the place to go. They have many varieties of apples, such as Empire, Cortland, Jonagold,, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and more. You can also buy fresh vegetables and baked goods, like apple pie, apple fritters, and apple turnovers, and jams. The fruit stand is open daily from 9am to 5:30pm, August 1st through Christmas Eve. (Visit Barber Orchard Fruit Stand’s Facebook page for more information.)
The orchards are ripe for picking from late August through October. Going to one of these orchards is a great way to spend a day and enjoy the best apple picking in Western North Carolina. So, grab a basket and get going!