As the leaves turn golden and the air grows crisp, North Carolina comes alive with the gentle whispers of apple-picking season.
Amidst branches laden with nature’s sweet jewels, one cannot help but surrender to the enchanting call of apple picking in this serene haven.
Whether with friends, family, or in quiet solitude, apple picking in North Carolina promises a magical escape from the ordinary.
Apple Picking Season in North Carolina
Apple picking season in North Carolina typically begins in late August and extends through October, with some variations depending on the specific apple variety and location within the state.
North Carolina boasts a wide range of apple varieties, including Honeycrisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, and more.
The prime apple-picking locations in the state are in the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills, particularly around Hendersonville, which is known as North Carolina’s apple country.
The cooler climate in these higher elevations provides an ideal environment for apple orchards to thrive. Be sure to check individual orchard websites or call ahead to verify their opening hours and availability during the apple picking season.
North Carolina Apple Orchards
Here’s a list of 15 apple orchards throughout North Carolina. Be sure to check the individual orchard websites or call ahead to confirm opening hours and availability during the apple picking season.
1. Sky Top Orchard
- Location: 3403 Greenville Hwy, Flat Rock, NC 28731
- Website: https://www.skytoporchard.com/
2. Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard
- Location: 170 Stepp Orchard Dr, Hendersonville, NC 28792
- Website: https://steppapples.com/
3. Justus Orchard
- Location: 187 Garren Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792
- Website: https://www.justusorchard.com/
4. Grandad’s Apples
- Location: 2951 Chimney Rock Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792
- Website: https://www.grandadsapples.com/
5. Apple Wedge Packers & Cider
- Location: 2771 Chimney Rock Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792
- Website: https://www.applewedge.com/
6. The Orchard at Altapass
- Location: 1025 Orchard Rd, Spruce Pine, NC 28777
- Website: https://www.altapassorchard.org/
7. Perry Lowe Orchards
- Location: 8741 NC-16, Moravian Falls, NC 28654
- Website: https://www.perryloweorchards.com/
8. Apple Hill Orchard & Cider Mill
- Location: 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave, Morganton, NC 28655
- Website: https://www.applehillorchard.com/
9. Deal Orchards
- Location: 7400 NC-16, Taylorsville, NC 28681
- Website: https://dealorchards.com/
10. Millstone Creek Orchards
- Location: 506 Parks Crossroads Church Rd, Ramseur, NC 27316
- Website: https://www.millstonecreekorchards.com/
11. Faucette Farms
- Location: 7566 Friendship Church Rd, Browns Summit, NC 27214
- Website: https://www.faucettefarms.com/
12. Horne Creek Living Historical Farm
- Location: 308 Horne Creek Farm Rd, Pinnacle, NC 27043
- Website: https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/horne-creek-farm
13. Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill
- Location: 1860 Black Hwy, York, SC 29745
- Website: https://www.windyhillorchard.com/
14. Coston Farm and Apple House
- Location: 3748 Chimney Rock Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28792
- Website: https://www.costonfarm.com/
15. Knob Creek Orchards
- Location: 6471 Fallston Rd, Lawndale, NC 28090
- Website: http://www.knobcreekorchards.com/
Please note that while most of these orchards are in North Carolina, Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill is located in South Carolina but is included due to its proximity to Charlotte, NC.
Apple Picking Festivals and events in North Carolina
North Carolina has a variety of apple-related festivals and events, particularly in the mountainous region where apple production is prominent. Here are a few popular apple festivals and events in the state:
1. North Carolina Apple Festival
- Location: Hendersonville, NC
- Date: Labor Day Weekend (Friday through Monday)
- Website: https://www.ncapplefestival.org/
The North Carolina Apple Festival is an annual event celebrating the apple harvest in Henderson County. This four-day event includes live entertainment, arts and crafts, food vendors, a street fair, and more. Don’t forget to visit the apple orchards nearby for apple picking and sampling different apple varieties.
2. Brushy Mountain Apple Festival
- Location: North Wilkesboro, NC
- Date: First Saturday in October
- Website: https://www.applefestival.net/
The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast. The event features hundreds of vendors, live music, food, and activities for all ages. Apples and apple-related products are available from local growers.
3. Apple Harvest Festival at Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill
- Location: York, SC (Close to Charlotte, NC)
- Date: Typically held in October (Check the website for updates)
- Website: https://www.windyhillorchard.com/apple-harvest-festival
The Apple Harvest Festival at Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill is a family-friendly event that celebrates the annual apple harvest.
The festival features apple picking, hayrides, hard cider tasting, apple cider donuts, live music, and various food options.
These are just a few of the apple festivals and events you can find in and around North Carolina. Be sure to check the event websites for exact dates, times, and any potential changes due to unforeseen circumstances.
Tips for a Successful Apple Picking Experience
Apple picking is a fun and rewarding activity for the whole family. However, it can quickly turn into a frustrating experience if you are not prepared. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your apple picking adventure:
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
- Bring sunscreen and bug spray
- Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly
- Call ahead to confirm the orchard’s hours and availability
- Bring cash or check, as some orchards may not accept credit cards
- Bring your own bags or containers for the apples
- Be respectful of the orchard’s rules and regulations
- Don’t climb on the trees or damage the fruit
- Sample the apples before picking to make sure they are ripe and sweet
- Have fun and enjoy the experience!
By following these tips, you can ensure a successful apple picking experience that will create memories for years to come.
Benefits of Apple Picking
Apple picking is a fun activity that offers many benefits for individuals and families. Here are some of the benefits of apple picking:
- Fresh air and exercise: Apple picking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while getting some exercise. Walking through the orchard and carrying a bag of apples can help burn calories and increase heart rate.
- Family fun: Apple picking is a great activity for families to enjoy together. It can be a fun way to bond and create memories. Parents can teach their children about the different types of apples and how they grow.
- Healthy snack: Apples are a nutritious snack that are high in fiber and low in calories. Picking your own apples ensures that they are fresh and free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Supporting local farms: By picking apples at a local farm, you are supporting the local economy and helping to sustain local agriculture. It’s a great way to give back to the community.
- Learning experience: Apple picking can be a great learning experience for children and adults alike. It can teach about agriculture, the environment, and the importance of supporting local farms.
Apple Picking FAQs
What should I wear when apple picking?
Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain. Dress in layers, as the temperature can change throughout the day. A hat and sunscreen are recommended for sun protection.
Do I need to bring my own bags or containers for apple picking?
Some orchards provide bags or containers for apple picking, while others may require you to bring your own. It’s a good idea to check with the orchard beforehand or bring your own reusable bags just in case.
How much does apple picking cost?
The cost of apple picking varies by the orchard and may be priced per pound, per bag, or as a flat rate for a specific container size. Some orchards may also charge an admission fee. Check with the specific orchard for their pricing structure.
Are apple orchards pet-friendly?
Policies regarding pets vary by orchard. Some orchards may allow pets on a leash, while others may not permit pets at all. It’s best to check with the individual orchard for their pet policy before visiting.