5 Places to Pick Apples this Fall
Among the many reasons to visit North Georgia in the fall, are orchards and markets full of apples ripe for the picking.
Most of the apple crops grown in Georgia are grown in the North Georgia mountains, with Ellijay, located in Gilmer County, known as the Apple Capital of Georgia. Luckily, it's just a short drive to Ellijay to pick your own fresh locally grown apples, which are more affordable and healthier than apples shipped across the country.
The apple's versatility can be seen in all of the ways it can be prepared. Dried apples will make a sweet addition to your snack mix, and when cooked with Vidalia onions, apples become a savory sauce to serve with dinner. Fresh apples can be pressed into sweet (or hard) cider, and they are lovely in fried pies, stewed in cobblers and even baked whole, stuffed with pecans and dried peaches.
A drive to North Georgia offers breathtaking views, roadside stands selling fresh-picked apples, apple cider, apple butter and pies; and several orchards offering pick-your-own options. From late August to mid-December, Georgia orchards boast some of the freshest, tastiest apples in the country.
Here are a few of the orchards and markets offering the best apples North Georgia has to offer.
Hillside Orchard Farms, Lakemont
This working farm, country store and processing facility features more than 500 varieties of jams and jellies, fruit relishes and sauces, as well as fresh apples, apple ciders, fried pies and many other apple products. Hillside Orchard Farms also has an annual "Fall Farm Day." Call ahead for special events.
Jaemor Farm Market, Alto
A 350-acre farm has been in the Jaemor family for more than 100 years, with a roadside market that has been open for 35 years. Jaemor Farms is one of the largest roadside markets across 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.
Mercier Orchards, Blue Ridge
Mercier Orchards is a fourth-generation family-owned and -operated apple orchard, celebrating more than 70 years of fruitful harvest. A tasty combination of u-pick apple events, a bakery, deli, market store and farm winery makes them worth the drive. A few of the apple varieties grown are Detroit Red, Ginger Gold, Gala, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia.
R & A Orchards, Ellijay
With an apple harvest running from August through March, R & A Orchards can offer more than 20 varieties of apples, gallons of cider and 12 different fried pies. Farm tours and wagon rides are offered every weekend in September. You can also bring a basket to pick your own apples to take home and enjoy later.
Red Apple Barn, Ellijay
You can find all things apple at the Red Apple Barn at Little Bend Orchard, from fresh-picked apples, ciders, dried apples, apple pies, apple fritters and breads, jams, jellies and even candy apples — for those of you with a sweet tooth. Farm tours are available all season, and you can pick your own apples on the weekends during the apple harvest.