Apples at Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by Emily Selby

Apples at Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by Emily Selby

Where to Go Apple Picking in Georgia

Is it really even fall yet until you’ve gone apple picking? Here are the best orchards in Georgia to do just that.

Going apple picking in Georgia is one of those fall traditions you just can't miss! The thrill of eating a juicy, crisp apple just picked off the tree is an experience like no other.

Plan a trip to these orchards for a taste of fall combined with plenty of family fun. Be sure to review the orchards' websites and social media pages before your trip so you can be fully prepared for your visit.

BONUS: Scroll to the bottom of this page to find a delicious recipe to make with your apples from Chef Jennifer Hill Booker.

Apple picking at B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by @aishatopelawrence
Apple picking at B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by @aishatopelawrence

B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay

Tucked away in the North Georgia mountains, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking at B.J. Reece Orchards! Family-owned and operated since the early 1960s, their u-pick apple orchard is open late August to the end of October.

B.J. Reece has a wide selection of apples in the market and available for you to pick in season. They grow 20 different varieties of apples on 120 acres, including honey crisp and red delicious. The orchards are also pet-friendly, so bring your four-legged best friend, too.

Visit on weekends for all the farm fun, including apple cannons, wagon rides (farm tours), petting farm, scavenger hunt, cow milking, jumping pillow, cow train rides, pig races, pony rides and racing ziplines. These activities operate every Saturday and Sunday while the u-pick orchards are open. The petting farm is the only experience open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They're also known for their fried apple pies, so save room for a sweet treat!

Visit B.J. Reece Orchards


 

Apples at Deep Roots Orchard in McCaysville, Georgia
Apples at Deep Roots Orchard in McCaysville, Georgia

Deep Roots Orchard in McCaysville

This Appalachian family-owned and operated old-fashioned apple orchard located on a North Georgia hillside offers u-pick apples, wagon rides, fried pies, and a mercantile selling vegetables and other locally grown goods. During the fall, visitors also can sign up for yoga classes and outdoor movie nights.

Located less than a half-hour drive from downtown Blue Ridge, Deep Roots Orchard is very near the Georgia-Tennessee border. Be sure to stop in downtown McCaysville to snap a picture right on the state line.

Visit Deep Roots Orchard


Apples on the tree at Hillcrest Orchards and Farms in Ellijay, Georgia
Hillcrest Orchards and Farms in Ellijay, Georgia

Hillcrest Orchards and Farms in Ellijay

Hillcrest Orchards is family-owned and operated, and has been growing apples and fun since 1946. The annual Apple Pickin' Jubilee is held on the weekends during September and October, and features cloggers and live music as well as carnival-style foods. Apple picking is offered daily through this period, as well.

Not only do they have u-pick apples, they also have pig racing with swimming pigs, milking Buttercup - the sweet Jersey cow - mini golf, museums, cow train rides, pony rides, multiple playgrounds, a jumping pillow, pedal cart rides, a nature trail and wagon rides through the orchard. Masks are required for cow milking.

Buy fresh produce and goodies from the market, and swing by the grill for lunch while you’re there. Don’t forget to stop by the bakery for their famous fresh apple fritters!

Visit Hillcrest Orchards and Farms


Apples on the tree at Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia
Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia

Jaemor Farms in Alto

A 350-acre farm has been in the Jaemor family since 1912, with a roadside market that has been open for 35 years. Jaemor Farms is one of the largest of its kind in the country, specializing in a variety of homegrown produce and homemade treats, including — but not limited to — apples, fried pies, cider jelly, jams and vegetable seedlings. The u-pick apple orchards are on select days only, so check their Facebook page for updates. The farm also offers u-pick flowers, strawberries and peaches throughout the year.

Apple cider doughnuts at Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia
Apple cider doughnuts at Jaemor Farms

TIP: Come early on u-pick days because the orchards are first-come, first serve. And, don't leave the farm without getting an apple cider doughnut, too! 

Visit Jaemor Farms


Person picking apples at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Photo by @jessvass
Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Photo by @jessvass

Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge

Mercier offers several varieties of apples, as well as peaches, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and more. A tasty combination of you-pick apple events, a bakery, deli, market and farm winery makes them worth the drive.

Bonus for those over 21: Mercier offers seasonal wines and hard apple ciders that are ah-mazing! It was one of the first apple orchards in Georgia to grow, press, ferment and bottle its own products. Try a few different kinds in the tasting room or on the dog-friendly deck, and then take home some bottles to enjoy!

Visit Mercier Orchards


R & A Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia
R & A Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia

R & A Orchards in Ellijay

Since 1947 when the first trees were planted, this orchard and family business has been growing. R & A Orchards has approximately 60 acres of apple trees and approximately 10 acres of peaches and nectarines. Make sure to stop by the R&A Market for lunch before or after you pick. Farm tours, wagon rides, u-pick flowers and apple picking are offered every weekend in September.

Visit R & A Orchards


Green apples on display at the Red Apple Barn in Ellijay
Red Apple Barn in Ellijay

Red Apple Barn in Ellijay

Enjoy a visit with your family to the Red Apple Barn near Ellijay in the North Georgia mountains on weekends starting in late August. Admission includes a tractor ride to the orchard, an apple from the orchard, a cup of apple cider, an apple cider doughnut, two flowers, water, rock and pumpkin painting, games, picnic areas and playground for the kids. In the farm store, you have to try the apple pies, fritters, bread, caramel and candied apples, jams and jellies, honey and apple cider. U-pick apples are limited this year due to an early frost, but the pumpkin patch opens in October.

Visit the Red Apple Barn


These orchards are definitely 'Gram worthy! See below for some inspiration.

 


Use the Apples You Picked to Make this Recipe

Apple, Cranberry and Pecan Galette

This free-formed tart, also known as a French Galette, is as easy to make as it is elegant to serve. *Yields 8 servings

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker making an apple, cranberry, pecan galette
Apple, cranberry and pecan galette

INGREDIENTS

Pastry Dough:

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 tablespoon cold water
1 large egg, beaten + 1 tablespoon water

Filling:

1 cup dark brown sugar
4-5 medium apples, like Honey Crisp, Gala, and Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup water

Garnish:

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/4 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Sift together the flour, salt, and sugar.

Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, and stir until the mixture comes together into a loose ball.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. This pie dough can also be made up to two days ahead, tightly wrapped and refrigerated.

In a large bowl, combine the apples and brown sugar; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the dried cranberries and water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until cranberries are plump and tender.

Remove from heat, cool slightly, and drain; reserving ¼ cup of the liquid.

Mix the cooked cranberries to the apple mixture along with the reserved liquid.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to temper for 10 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and roll out on lightly floured parchment paper, into a 12-inch round disc.

Brush excess flour from dough and parchment paper and transfer to a baking sheet.

Spoon apple mixture into the center of the tart round and fold dough edges up around the fruit mixture. You should have a 6-inch circle of fruit showing at the top of the tart.

Brush dough with the beaten egg mixture, sprinkle with sugar, and Bake for 30 minutes, or until the fruit mixture is bubbling and crust is golden brown.

Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar and chopped pecans.

Book cover for Field Peas to Foie Gras by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Field Peas to Foie Gras by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

From Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014 Jennifer Hill Booker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

Published: August 2022
Written by: Caroline Eubanks
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