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You’re the Apple of my I, lets go pickin!

When you think Georgia, the first fruit to come to mind is not an apple. Surprisingly however we have amazing crops of those Grannie Sweet Golden orbs.

Beginning this weekend, Apple Picking Season starts here in the south. Last year our crops were not so happy. This year, due to the amazing rain and particularly dry very hot summer we are bursting at the seams. I love pick-your-own places and cherished Florida for this reason in Pixie’s youth. Many weekends were full of beach and pickin’ time. You would be surprised how little children can be converted into farmers. Games nibbles conversation, it was so much fun. Pixie would love to really do up the activity with thrift store overalls and straw hats. We made up names for each other like June and Ethel. I am sure many of other visitors thought we were completely insane as we sat among the strawberries, red and bellies full joking and talking in our best farmer drawl. One couple entered a conversation with us about our “sheep”. They were horrified to learn the sheep didn’t really exist. Sad I know.

A recent article in one of our local magazines UpInCumming delivers some great tips about activities and orchards:

“Highway 52, so-called “Apple Alley”, offers up 11 orchards out of the 19 orchards in the county. You could just head up there and stop where you will. I suggest you decide what your goal is before you leave home. Are you just looking for a place to buy apples? Do you want the experience of picking your own? Do you have children who will enjoy a wagon ride, petting zoo or corn maze? Are your kids old enough to be possible candidates for the big slide at Hillcrest, the apple cannon at Reece or for a more serious tour of a working farm? Maybe you just want to conduct a taste test and find the best apple cider doughnut along the route or buy preserves and quilts for your Christmas list. If you desire a peaceful drive up in the mountains, September and October in Gilmer County is not serene, at least not on the weekends. In fact, 400 headed south on Sunday evening looks like rush hour traffic during the week. But it is fun – loads and loads of delicious fun.”

Tomorrow I will be posting some very infamous family recipes for apples!

Hillcrest Orchards:
9696 Hwy. 52 E., Ellijay, GA 30536
706-273-3838, www.hillcrestorchards.net

Red Apple Barn:
3379 Tailscreek Road, Ellijay, GA 30540
706-635-5898, www.redapplebarn.com
Note: Red Apple Barn is not located in “apple alley” off highway 52, but on the other side of town. Work this to your advantage to avoid the crowds, enjoying a scenic drive on the road less traveled.

Reece Apple House:
9131 Highway 52 East, Ellijay, GA 30536
706-276-3048, www.reeceorchards.com

R&A Orchards:
5505 Highway 52 East, Ellijay, GA 30536
706-273-3821, www.randaorchards.com

For mountain biking info in Gilmer County see:
www.cartecaybikes.com (you can print a trail map here) or www.ellijaymountainbike.org

Find a list of orchards at www.applejournal.com



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