Where to Go Apple Picking in NC This Year 2021
Looking for fun things to do in North Carolina this fall? Consider checking out some of the best apple orchards to go apple picking in NC!
Did you know that North Carolina is one of the top apple producers in the USA? Believe it or not, North Carolina has been in the top 10 for apple producers the past 5 years.
Since apples play such a huge role in North Carolina, the state holds an Apple Festival in Hendersonville (the mecca of apple picking in NC). They have just completed its 75th annual event that included 14 local Growers.
Additionally, there is also an Apple Harvest Festival in Downtown Waynesville that has been running for 34 years. This giant street fair in the name of apples happens every October. This year the Apple Harvest Festival is on October 16th, 2021.
In this guide, you will find some of the best apple orchards to go apple picking in NC this year!
Most Apple Orchards will be found in Western North Carolina by the Blue Ridge Mountains right near Asheville. If you are looking for a staycation or fall getaway, you can easily make a whole weekend out of apple picking and fall festivities traveling down the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Where to Go Apple Picking in NC This Year 2021
- Grandads Apples N’ Such
- Sky Top Orchard Apple Picking
- Justus Orchard
- Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard
- Apple Hill Orchard Cider Mill
- Carrigan Farms
- Orchard at Altapass
- Coston Farm & Apple House
- Millstone Creek Orchards
- When is Apple Picking Season in NC
- What to Know For Apple picking in NC
- Fun Facts and Tips For Apple Picking
- Best Apple Picking in NC: Wrap-up
Grandads Apples N’ Such
Located in Hendersonville, NC, Grandad’s Apples N’ Such is one of the best places to go apple picking. Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville this farm offers a hundred acres to explore. Not only do they have apples, but they also have pumpkins to pick as well. Grandad’s apples have been family-owned and operated since 1994.
The U-pick Apple hours are from 8 AM to 6 PM and currently, Golden Delicious apples are available for picking. Other apples you can purchase in pre-picked bags include Gala, cinnamon crisp, Rome, Rusty gold, and more!
Moreover, you can enjoy their hot cider donuts, cookies, apple pies, hot cider, and apple cider slushies during a visit to this apple orchard.
Additionally, Grandad’s apples also offer fun weekend activities. Some of the activities you could enjoy at the apple orchard are exploring through the corn maze, the cow train, and the Apple Cannon. All of which are $5 per Rider.
U- Pick Golden Delicious apples are sold by the peck.
Apple picking at Grandad’s Apple Farm is available now until October 31st, 2021. To stay up-to-date with Grandad’s Apples N’ Such Facebook page.
Pet-Friendly: Dogs allowed
Hours: Monday – Sunday 8 AM – 6 PM
Address: 2951 Chimney Rock Rd Hendersonville, NC 28792
Sky Top Orchard Apple Picking
Another top Orchard to go apple picking in NC is Sky top Orchard. Enjoy the beautiful Western North Carolina mountain views atop Mt. McAlpine while exploring the U-Pick apple fields. Sky Top Orchard Farm also offers pumpkin picking, ponds with ducks and geese, a bamboo forest, picnic areas, tractor-pulled rides, and more fun for the whole family.
With around 2,500 apple trees with 30 different varieties, some apples that can be found at Sky Top Orchards Farm Stand and in the U-pick Fields are Cortland apples, Golden Delicious, candy crisp, Honeycrisp, Gala, Asian pear, and many more.
Additionally, we can’t forget to mention their famous apple cider donuts! The demand has become so large, the farm is always finding ways to expand on their donut-making!
Sky Top Orchard is also dog-friendly, so you can enjoy picking apples with the whole family.
To pick apples at this NC farm, they will provide you with their own U-pick bag that you will pay for in advance. The bag’s price covers a full bag of apples.
Apple picking goes throughout November, however, they take breaks for the apple trees to be ripe, so make sure to find updates on Sky Top’s Facebook page before visiting.
Pet-friendly: Dogs allowed
Hours: Monday- Sunday 9 AM – 6 PM
Address: 1193 Pinnacle Mountain Rd, Flat Rock, NC 28731
The Justus Orchard Barn is another great place to go apple picking in NC. This family-owned farm has been growing apples for 4 Generations and working on the 5th. Located in Hendersonville NC, enjoy the fresh mountain air, while picking apples and even pumpkins.
Besides apple picking, they also have a lot of activities for the family including a picnic area, playground, a ride on the cow train, a jumping pillow, farm animals, and upon with fish and ducks.
Furthermore, you can visit the bakery which offers their apple cider doughnuts, apple cider slushies, mountain cabbage, sweet potatoes, and apple pies for all your fall needs.
Justus Orchard has 19 varieties of apples that they grow and sell and even offer U-pick Blackberries (July- August).
Apple picking at this NC farm starts around mid-August through early November. Get updates for apple picking on the Justus Orchard Facebook page.
Pet-Friendly: Dogs allowed
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 5 PM; Weekend 8:30 AM – 6 PM.
Address: 187 Garren Rd. Hendersonville NC 28792
Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard
With 50 years of apple picking experience, Stepp’s farm offers 21 varieties of apples on their 70-acre farm. Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard was actually the first apple picking farm in Hendersonville! Offering tons of family fun this fall, enjoy their 5 acre Corn Maze, pick your own sunflowers, zinnias, grapes, and pumpkins.
After picking all your delicious NC apples, head to their Country Market for a cup of apple cider, apple cider donuts, or enjoy your own packed lunch at their picnic tables.
On the weekends, enjoy extra family fun with their jump pad, wagon rides, and apple cannon.
Additionally, their farm is dog-friendly and offers free admission. Apple prices are available in ½ peck or full pecks.
For a map of their Farm and where you can find each variety of apples check their website here.
Pet-friendly: Dogs allowed
Hours: Monday – Thursday 9 AM – 5:30 PM; Friday – Saturday 9 AM – 6 PM; Sunday 10 AM -6 PM
Address: 170 Stepp Orchard Drive Hendersonville, NC 28792
Apple Hill Orchard Cider Mill
If you are looking to go apple picking a little closer to Raleigh or Charlotte, NC (2 -3 hours away) then consider apple picking at Apple Hill Orchard Cider Mill. Located in Morganton, NC, this 100-acre orchard and cattle farm is in its fifth generation of Apple Growers, has around 10,000 trees, and offers 22 varieties of apples. Their apple orchard actually dates back to the 1930s!
They also recently opened a flower field where They have planted thousands of flower seeds.
This year many apple orchards suffered a freeze, hence there are fewer apples to be picked. Therefore, this year Apple Hill Orchard has a required parking pass that can be purchased online. They are charging $3 per person to enter their Orchard/flower field. Children under the age of 2 are free.
After you enjoy picking your own apples through their Orchards, head to their fresh farm market where you can purchase gallons of apple cider, fried apple pies, fresh jellies and jams, and tons of other baked goods.
Additionally, Apple Hill Orchard also grows peaches. Peach trees tend to bloom 1 to 3 weeks before apple trees so the best time for picking peaches is from July – August. They have yellow peaches, white peaches, and yellow nectarines for picking.
If you are looking to have professional photography done at their apple orchard you must contact them via email a week prior to schedule.
To get your picking pass for Apple Hill Orchard, click here!
Small Apple Bag: $8 (approx. 12 apples)
Small Basket: $13
Large Bag: $15 (approx. 25 apples)
Large Basket: $22 and you keep the basket
Pet-Friendly: No pets allowed.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 AM – 6 PM for farm market and bakery. Ticket needed for U-pick.
Address: 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave. Morganton NC, 28655
Another great place to consider going apple picking closer to Charolette, NC is Carrigan Farms! Located in Mooresville, just North of Charolette, Carrigan farms offers a ton of activities throughout the year including apple picking.
5 generations have been farming the lands since 1902, starting as a cotton and tobacco farm, and now focusing on quality fruits and veggies (strawberries, asparagus, apples, and pumpkins).
Due to the early April frost, this year they are light on apples, therefore they will be doing a limited picking experience by reservation only.
On the bright side, Carrigan Farms plans to have sunflowers through September and their U-pick pumpkins have done great this year.
You can reserve a ticket online. It is a $2 deposit and then $10 per person at the door.
During the summer, their quarry is very popular to go swimming, and their farm is often used for private events such as weddings.
Here are more fun things to do in Mooresville, NC!
They accept cash or check only at the farm. Make an online reservation at Carrigan Farms here.
Address: 1261 Oakridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville, NC 28115
Orchard at Altapass
Another one of the most popular places to go apple picking on/near the NC Blue Ridge Parkway is the Orchard at Altapass. Their apple orchard was started over 25 years ago and is a non-profit on a mission to preserve the land, history, and culture of the Altapass region.
They offer over 25 varieties of apples including York, Golden Delicious, King Luscious, Stayman Winesap, and Virginia Beauty. Their apple orchard also has walking trails (open year-round), music in the pavilion, educational programs, a butterfly garden, and more.
After picking all those NC mountain apples, head over to their General Store where you can purchase fresh jams, jelly, homemade fudge, and tons of other goodies.
Pet-Friendly: Dogs allowed
Address: 1025 Orchard Road Spruce Pine, NC 28777 – Blue Ridge Parkway(mile marker 328.3)
Coston Farm & Apple House
Coston Farm is another popular farm to go apple picking in NC and is known for growing apples for Gerber Babies.
Some apples you can find at their Orchard for picking and prepicked are Jonagold, Arkansas black, Cortland, Rome Beauty, and Fuji apples.
This year Coston Farms is only offering U-pick apples on the weekends due to the freeze in April. You can always head to their Bakery where they offer homemade apple pies, fried apple pies, apple bread, cookies, fresh cider, and more.
Check the Coston Farm Facebook page to stay up-to-date on apple picking this year.
Pet-Friendly: No pets allowed.
Address: 3748 Chimney Rock Road Hendersonville NC 28792
Millstone Creek Orchards
If you are looking for apple picking close to the Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill area, consider visiting Millstone Creek Orchards around 1 hour away!
Unfortunately due to the freeze this year, 90% of their apple crop was lost. However, they still plan on having limited apple picking. They will still have pre-picked apples in the barn stock. Besides apple picking, the Millstone Creek Orchards offers a plethora of fresh fruit, U-pick grapes, and gourds.
Additionally, they have a lot of fun for the whole family to enjoy with tons of special events. Some events include storytime, catch and release fishing, Char Mar Alpacas, and the Apple Barn & Kiddie Korral playground to name a few.
While there indulge in tons of baked goods including apple cider donuts (of course!) and their famous fresh cold-pressed apple cider. To learn more and get reservations, check the Millstone Creek Orchards here.
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 AM – 6 PM; Sunday: 1 PM – 5:30 PM
Address: 506 Parks Crossroads Church Rd, Ramseur, NC 27316
When is Apple Picking Season in NC
Generally, apple picking season is from late August until October. Many apple orchards open up around labor day. However, you will find some orchards open past November. It is always best to check with the farm before visiting. Many times you can even find this information on their Facebook page and what varieties of apples the farm has available for picking.
What to Know For Apple picking in NC
Now that you know some of the best places to go apple picking in NC, here are some tips to know before visiting the orchards.
When visiting apple orchards, keep some of these do’s and don’ts in mind.
- Do not climb the trees.
- Only pick what you plan to eat. This is super important when apple picking for everyone to enjoy!
- Stay in the designated picking area only. This is set to make sure apples are ripe.
- Check with the farm to make sure they are open.
- Make sure to have cash. Many times, farms do not have ATMs or credit terminals.
- Supervise children at all times.
- If pets are allowed, make sure to clean up after them! Super important to keep farms dog-friendly.
- Don’t eat picked apples at the orchard. They should be washed off before consumption.
- Follow all additional rules the apple orchards have in place.
- Since most apple picking is in the North Carolina Mountains, be prepared to have little to no cell phone service.
Fun Facts and Tips For Apple Picking
Now that we got the do’s and don’ts out of the way, here are some fun facts and apple picking tips!
When apple picking, try to look for little to no bruising on the apples. However, if you plan to cut apples up for recipes, a few marks it not a big deal, and the apples will still be perfectly tasty apples although just a little blemished.
Additionally, pick apples that have a firm texture. Keep in mind golden and red delicious apple varieties are slightly softer to the touch.
Storing apples depends on how fast you want to use/eat them. Apples are known to ripen 10x faster at room temperature than in the refrigerator. Chilled apples should last 90 days. If you don’t plan on refrigerating your apples, store them in a cool dry place.
Additionally, there are some varieties that store better long-term than others. Typically, the late-season apple varieties will last longer than early ripening apples.
Other Apple fun facts you may have not known are:
- Apples have 5 seed pockets called carpels.
- Apples are fat, cholesterol, and sodium-free.
- It takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple.
- Approx. 6-8 medium apples make a 9-inch apple pie.
- Apple trees can live up to 100 years old.
- Apples are in the same family as roses.
- The heaviest apple weighed 4lb 1oz. It was picked in Japan.
- Apple trees bear more fruit when grown next to different varieties. Most apple trees depend on cross-pollination to bear fruit.
- The only apple native to North America is the crab apple. DNA has suggested apples originated in Kazakhstan.
- It takes approximately 35-40 medium apples to produce 1 gallon of apple cider.
Best Apple Picking in NC: Wrap-up
This concludes some of the best places to go apple picking in NC this year! Are there any apple orchards I missed? Let me know in the comments below!