Hillcrest Orchard Apples
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. Don't forget about the pies, cider, donuts and festivals, too!
BONUS: Scroll to the bottom of this page to find a delicious recipe to make with your apples from Chef Jennifer Hill Booker!
B.J. Reece Orchards, 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 you-pick apple orchard is open in September and 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! 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 you-pick orchards are open.
Hillcrest Orchards and Farms, 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. Not only do they have you-pick apples, they also have pig racing with swimming pigs, milking Buttercup - the sweet Jersey cow - bluegrass bands, clogging groups, 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.
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!
Jaemor Farms, 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 roadside markets 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 you-pick apple orchards are on select days only. Check out their Facebook page for updates.
TIP: Come early on you-pick days because the orchards are first-come, first serve, and don't leave the farm without getting an apple cider donut, too!
Mercier Orchards, Blue Ridge
As the state's largest apple orchard, Mercier offers more than 50 varieties of apples, as well as peaches, nectarines, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries and more. A tasty combination of you-pick apple events (September through November), a bakery, deli, Market Store and Farm Winery makes them worth the drive.
Bonus for those over 21: Mercier always offers a hard apple cider that is ah-mazing! They are the only apple orchard in Georgia that grows, presses, ferments and bottles their own hard apple cider. Try a few different kinds in the tasting room, and then take home a bottle to enjoy!
Mountain View Orchards and Cider House Café, McCaysville
Family-owned and operated, The Cider House is happily off the beaten path, offering wonderful Southern meals while nestled among acres of rolling orchards. They offer pick-your-own apples grown in the North Georgia mountains at an old-fashioned orchard, or you can choose from nine different varieties that have already been picked.
They also have apple pies, jams and jellies, cider and honey. Enjoy a home-cooked lunch or dinner at the Cider House Cafe. Take a hayride and enjoy campfire dinners in season!
R & A Orchards, Ellijay
Since 1947 when the first trees were planted, the orchard and family business has been growing. R & A Orchard 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 and apple picking are offered every weekend in September.
Red Apple Barn, Ellijay
Enjoy a visit with your family to the Red Apple Barn near Ellijay in the North Georgia mountains. Not only can you pick apples, you can also pick pumpkins and wild flowers! In the farm store, you have to try the apple pies, fritters, bread, caramel and candied apples, jams and jellies, honey and apple cider. We highly recommend taking a tractor ride and farm tour to the apple orchard on Saturday and Sundays in September and October! Schedule a tour for a big group on Fridays by calling ahead.
These orchards are definitely 'Gram worthy! See below for some inspiration.
Need a new recipe to try with your apples? Make this galette from our from our Culinary Explorer, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, that will impress even your foodie friends!
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
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 water1 large egg, beaten + 1 tablespoon water
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
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/4 cup powdered sugar
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.
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.