Picking fresh, mouth-watering apples in Georgia requires a drive to the northern part of the state, where apple orchards thrive. Most people find the trip well worth the time after they try one of the tasty treats picked right off the tree. Not only do the apples taste great, but the cost tends to be less expensive than buying the fruit at the grocery store. The fun of apple picking can be combined with a sightseeing trip to see the changing fall leaves for a day or weekend event.
You-pick apple orchards exist in more than a dozen counties in northeast Georgia. They are located primarily in the mountainous areas of the state, where cool nights and warm days provide perfect apple-growing conditions. Most commercially sold apples come from Gilmer and Fannin counties, although more than 10 counties feature you-pick apple orchards scattered around the state's northern area.
A number of Georgia orchards grow popular apples such as Red and Golden Delicious. A few orchards also offer Gala, Winesap and Mutsu. The earliest crop of apples appears in Ellijay orchards in August. Orchards in this area also grow Granny Smith and Rome Beauty apples.
What to Expect
Apple pickers should take their own containers to hold the freshly picked fruit, although a few orchards provide containers. The orchard will help pickers find the trees with the ripest fruit, and then it's time to get to work. Apples get picked by holding the fruit firmly in the palm of the hand, then giving it a quick twist to remove it from the tree. The fruit should come away from the branch with the stem intact, which means the apple is fully ripe. The fruit needs to be placed carefully in the container so it doesn't bruise.
What to Take
To make the day go more smoothly, sunscreen and hats to prevent sunburn should be taken to the orchard. If children plan to participate in the apple picking, snacks and lunch should be taken in a cooler. Plenty of water needs to be provided for each person,. A camera or camcorder offers a great way to capture the fun and provide memories for years to come.
The main apple festival in Georgia occurs in Ellijay in mid-October. The festival includes hundreds of booths featuring crafts, artists and plenty of apple treats such as fried apple pies and apple fritters. Entertainment, rock climbing walls for the kids and a parade round out the festivities.