Georgia Fall Traditions: Apple-Picking
Posted 10.7.2020 in Travel Guides
The morning air is getting crisp, the afternoon sun is getting a little less scorching, and the days are slowly starting to shorten: all signs that Fall is on its way in Georgia. People have started to pull out their cozy sweaters and are digging around for their favorite cool weather recipes. This means pumpkins, squash, and… apples! One of the signature foods of late summer/early fall in the south are big, delicious apples. You can cook them in pies, drink them as cider, or turn them into any number of yummy homemade treats. Just thinking about it is enough to make your mouth water.
For many families, a fun and engaging seasonal tradition is apple picking. People from all over the state make pilgrimages to northeast Georgia every year to frolic in orchards, snack on fresh apples, and stock up on their favorite apple themed treats. Whether you are a long-time apple-picking pro or are thinking about starting a new tradition for your family, here is a list of some of the best places in Georgia to spend some quality time with friends/family and build up your apple stash.
Red Apple Barn – Ellijay, GA
Nestled in the hills of Ellijay, Georgia (the “Apple Capitol of Georgia”) the Red Apple Barn is one of Georgia’s most famous apple-picking destinations. On the weekends, Red Apple Barn offers “U-Pick” options for guests to pick their own apples from the orchards. A short tractor ride transports guests to their beautiful orchards where they can fill up their bags and sample apples straight from the tree while they do so. Visiting on a weekday? They also have a farm market that is open seven days a week where you can stock up on goodies like: pre-picked apples, ciders, fresh pastries, donuts and apple fritters, fudge, honey, syrups, jams, jellies, and so much more! They even have a pumpkin patch that opens each October where guests can pick and choose from a wide selection of beautiful pumpkins for carving, decoration, or eating.
B.J. Reece Orchards – Ellijay, GA
Another Georgia classic is B.J. Reece Orchards. This orchard mixes the classic whimsy of apple-picking with the fun of a weekend on the farm. Their “U-Pick” orchards are open all week long, but on the weekend they have “Weekend Farm Fun” packages that you can purchase which bundle your apple picking adventures with other fun activities like a petting farm, cow milking, a scavenger hunt, pig races, apple cannon, and pony rides. Families looking for a full day of fun will find their fill at B.J. Reece Orchards, and can also grab all their favorite apple products and baked goods (including their world-famous fried pies) in the apple house.
Mercier Orchards – Blue Ridge, GA
Located in the beautiful mountains of Blue Ridge, GA (about 20 miles north of Ellijay) Mercier Orchards is easy on the eyes and the tastebuds. If you are looking for a location to experience apples in as many ways as possible, Mercier’s has you covered. They offer everything from U-Pick, to fresh bakes pies and fritters, to an apple tasting bar, to apple cider, to their own brews of hard cider and more. The main location has a cute little café tucked inside that serves some of the best food in Northeast Georgia, and they also have a gift section of their market where you can pick-up some cute farm styles novelties. Mercier’s also has the added bonus of having a secondary location. If you are looking for some apple treats but don’t really need the “U-Pick” experience, you can visit their secondary market and café location right in downtown Blue Ridge to grab the same yummy products.
If you are looking for a more quick and direct way to stock up on apples for the fall season, there are also several apple houses in Northeast Georgia that offer all the delicious goodness of the “Apple Capitol of Georgia” with the convenience of a roadside shop.
Aaron’s Apple House – Ellijay, GA
Aaron’s Apple House a quaint little shop that will take you back to the days of roadside fruit stands and farmers selling their harvest out of the bed of their truck. Offering over a dozen different varieties of apples throughout the season as well as all the canned goods you could imagine, Aaron’s is a great stop to add to your apple-seeking adventures this fall. They also sell homemade pies and several different varieties of cider.
Hudson’s Apple House – Ellijay, GA
Another good ole’ country farm store is Hudson’s Apple House. This classic, roadside mom-and-pop apple shop is another great destination for those looking to snag some yummy goodies this fall. Hudson’s offers a variety of apples, ciders, jams, jellies, relishes, syrups, and honey all at a convenient location that you can drop on by anytime!
Whether you are a first time apple picker, have been going for years, or are just looking to make a quick trip to stock-up, we hope you make the time to visit one or more of these Georgia staples this year and pick up some Georgia Grown apples. Happy Picking!