It’s Apple Season, Y’all
The 2020 apple season is upon us and Hendersonville, as you know, is home to the annual North Carolina Apple Festival but also has many orchards where you can either pick your own apples or buy them pre-picked. We took a Hendersonville apple orchard tour this past weekend and wanted to share some of what we experienced.
Odell Barnwell & Sons
Before I get started, I want to mention that Odell Barnwell & Sons apple house is open for the season right there near the beginning of apple country. Barnwell’s is a real mountain roadside stand open seven days a week offering apples, peaches, cider, jam and much more.
Drop by their location at 2900 Chimney Rock Road just a few minutes east of Hendersonville on Hwy 64 to pick up some locally grown produce. Or give them at a call at 828-685-7300.
We began our Hendersonville apple season orchard tour with a run out to Justus Orchard, which is also now open for the 2020 season. It was our first time there and it was definitely worth the drive to this incredible orchard that dates all the way back to 1968. The staff was helpful and courteous and the orchards were beautiful in the foreground with some mountain scenery in the background. They offer blackberry picking through mid-August.
Their bakery is open Friday through Sunday every week serving up your favorites such as peaches, blueberry donuts, jams and jellies and more. Hershey’s ice cream is also available, which we may or may not have sampled. Get your picture taken with your face in one of the wooden caricatures outdoors or come sit and enjoy tasty treats in their covered outdoor dining area. A playground for the kids (with jump pillow!) is open weekends as well. Apple picking should begin around August 10th.
They are open seven days a week from now through mid-November. Stop by their location at 187 Garren Rd in Hendersonville, which is in the Fruitland area just west of Edneyville. You can reach them at 828-974-1232 or visit their website at Justus Orchard.
Continuing our apple season orchard tour, we took a trip over to SkyTop Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, which is an easy drive just about 15 minutes south of downtown Hendersonville where it sits atop Mt. McAlpine. We were very pleased and the staff was very courteous and helpful! The views of the surrounding mountains from the property were gorgeous.
Kids were playing in the play area, customers were lining up to buy hot apple cider doughnuts and some were even going on one of their first picking adventures of the season. Their orchard is very nice. We saw several folks with baskets in hand going down the rows of apple trees to get their first crispy sweet tastes of the season. And this year you get to keep your apple picking basket (these appear to be nice woven wood baskets) instead of exchanging it for a bag. Also, $2 gets you a tractor-pulled ride through the orchard.
Inside, SkyTop offers labeled pre-picked apple stations scattered throughout so you can pick the type of apple you want with ease. Or, if you’re in the mood for an entree, I mean dessert, SkyTop has apple cider doughnuts, caramel apples, fudge apples, honey and so much more. And they offer your choice of delicious chilled or frozen apple cider in various quantities. I believe we may have seen an apple cider slushy or two as well.
SkyTop Orchard. It’s located in Flat Rock, North Carolina near 3403 Greenville Highway (you’ll see signs for SkyTop once you reach this place on the map). For more information, you can visit their website at SkyTop Orchard, or give them a call at 828-692-7930.
Last and certainly not least on our Hendersonville apple season orchard tour was Grandad’s Apples located just east of Hendersonville on Hwy 64 as you head toward Edneyville. In fact, it’s very near to Odell Barnwell & Sons roadside stand.
Upon arriving to Grandad’s Apples, you’ll notice a huge barn with the big red metal roof. And near its second floor door you can see a decorative cow. Not sure how they moo-ved it up there. Also, immediate to the right of the barn, stands a multi-story silo with a tractor on top. Also no word on how they planted it there.
Grandad’s Apples has been open since 1994 but have had four generations of farmers growing apples on their 100-acre orchard.
Once inside the huge open-air barn, you’re greeted with a selection of edible items, such as apple cider doughnuts, apple butter, local honey, apple turnovers, apple bread, caramel apples and, of course, regular apples. In fact, Grandad’s Apples offers 30 different varieties of apples and apple-related merchandise, such as apple peelers. And of course they offer chilled or hot apple cider, apple slushies and fermented apple cider while supplies last (update: supplies exhausted).
But Grandad’s Apples isn’t just a place to shop. It’s a destination. You can buy a peck of pre-picked apples or grab a bag and go pick your own peck of apples. Take a load off with one of several outdoor covered patio tables or under the large silo-top resting area. Looking for some weekend fun? Grandad’s Apples offers a corn maze, an apple cannon and a cow train for the little ones. Or, I guess, not-so-small ones if you can fit. Check with them for permission first.
It’s Apple Season. Come enjoy the fruits of the apple farms’ labor!