Harvest Time in Apple Country

North Carolina is the fourth largest apple growing state, and the vast majority of that fruit comes from the valley just east of Hendersonville in a micro climate district known as the Isothermal Belt,  because warmer days add weeks to the growing season. From the end of August to the end of September,  growers feverishly gather sixteen different varieties of the nutritious fruit. 

A trip from my house to Apple Valley, as it’s called, takes less than hour, and I had to go around 4,300 foot Little Pisgah Mountain, the tallest peak between the Piedmont and Asheville,  south of Interstate 40.pisgah-1

After Little Pisgah, I drove over Bearwallow Mountain, the second tallest peak, emerging at Grand Highlands, an upscale development that overlooks Apple Valley, 2,000 feet below.highlands-1

Driving down narrow roads into the valley, suddenly the world changes, revealing an idyllic setting more like Europe than the Southern Appalachians.apple-cottage

Ancient apple orchards cover the lower slopes with gnarled, drooping trees, laden heavy with fruit ready to be picked.apples-2

The mountains to the north ensure steady rainfall throughout the growing season.yellow-apples

You can smell the sweet scent of fallen fruit, fermenting underneath the rows of trees.apples-4

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Heavy with Apples

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I gathered some from the ground.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I’ve never seen so many Apples

All through the orchards, large crates were filled with fruit awaiting pick up by large trucks that would transport them to the many Apple Houses located mostly along U.S. Highway 64.apple-crate

asaplogo        blueridgefarmdirectmarketassn     shopdinelocal

It’s always a treat to stop at the different Apple Houses to shop and to enjoy their decorations. This one featured giant pumpkins and bounties of the harvest.pumpkins




The most popular Apple House is called Grandad’s, and finding a parking spot is always difficult. It’s a family place where the kids can play on a number of attractions, and Mom and Dad can shop for apples, cider, pies, jellies, honey, and just about anything else relating to apples.grandads-3


Once you’ve finished shopping, you can relax in a comfortable rocking chair, enjoying the beauty of the distant mountains and the large fields of corn surrounding the barn.grandads-2


It’s a great way to spend an afternoon doing what people have been doing in this valley for over 200 years. A short drive takes you back over the Eastern Continental Divide, through Chimney Rock Village, and to picturesque Lake Lure, where 4,000 foot Mt. Shumont dwarfs the boats resting in the distant marina.rumbling-bald


7 thoughts on “Harvest Time in Apple Country

  1. Great Pictures………Our son and his family used to live near Greenville, SC and once while visiting them we went to the Apple /festival and I think it was in Asheville.  We have a picture on the wall in Family Room that Brad took while there.  Thanks for the pictures. Patsy

  2. Our apple tree — grafted with five varieties — is ready for harvest now! We have gala, ultra red gala, jonagold, macintosh and granny smith. Time to make a pie!
    Lee Ann

  3. The Apple Festival is in, Henderson County > Hendersonville > Apples From Edneyville —Dana Communities and the Mountains Coves and Valleys. Luv those Fuji and
    Gala Versions

  4. I have yet to find any Northern Spy apples, my Father’s favorite, and the apple best in Aunt Irene’s apple dumplings. I have her recipe, in her handwriting, in pencil. I love the way the fragrance fills the house whenever I make them, remembering her.

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