Apple Pickin’ Season in North Carolina

Apple PickingEven though fall has just started, apple pickin’ has been in season here in North Carolina since early August.  My daughter and her family were visiting us over the Labor Day weekend and we decided to make a day trip to the Apple Festival in Hendersonville and while we were there visit an orchard and pick some apples.  My two granddaughters ( five and eight going on thirteen) were eager to experience picking thier own apples particularly since Grandma’s apple sauce might be the final destination for some of those apples.

After a search on the internet, we settled on Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard located midway between Bat Cave and Hendersonville on Hwy 64.   Hillcrest is still a working orchard and the sales office and “gift shop” is in the same barn where the apples are packed and shipped.

In front of the barn was a large crate of apples with a sign instructing us to choose an apple and bring it to the counter for slicing and peeling.  The clerk impaled the apple on the tynes of a peeler something like the one shown and  B-apple-machineturned the crank.  In one swift motion, the apple was peeled, sliced and cored.  It was truly amazing to watch.  The meat of the apple was sliced in a continuous helical slice — something like an apple slinky.  The apple was returned in a paper napkin and we walked around the store munching on apple slices.   

Now it was time to go out to the orchard.  There were seven of us and each one of us got a peck basket and a map of the orchard showing us the rows where the different varieties were located.  It was like being a kid in the candy store.  Three Galas from this row and two Jonagold from that row and four Golden Delicious from the next.  The fruit was still low in the trees so my granddaughters were able to grasp the apple in thier hand and with one smooth motion twist and and drop the prize in their basket.  I on the other hand lagged behind the group searching deep within the foilage for the biggest, the sweetest apple on the tree.  My basket was soon overflowing with these giant mutants.

The best was yet to come though.  The clerk up at the barn had told us to be sure and get some Cameo apples.  The trees in Cameo row were still young, not yet bearing Apples.  The exception to that was a single tree, about two hundred feet down the row, rising above the others like the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.  We couldn’t resist.  We loaded our already laden baskets with all the Cameos that  would stay on top and made our back to the check out. 

We ended up with eight pecks of apples at a pick-it-yourself price of $5 per peck.  We also had to buy one of the apple parer/slicer/corers.  When we got back home we couldn’t wait to peel some apples.  It was a ball.  Every one loves to peel and eat apples prepared this way. 

We cored up a bunch of apples (left the skin on) and my wife made some of her famous apple sauce for supper.  A perfect end to a perfect day.

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This sounds like you had a great time. I’ll have to go apple-picking some day.

  2. Sounds yummy….you’re making me hungry.

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