Apple Picking Around Asheville, NC

Find the best places to pick, buy and enjoy local apples near Asheville, NC. Pick fresh Western North Carolina Apples straight from the tree at the best local orchards.

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There are many ways to enjoy your apple cake and eat it too near Asheville, NC
By Asheville Insider

Did you know that North Carolina is the seventh largest apple-producing state and that apples have been a part of the history and heritage of Western North Carolina since the mid-sixteenth century? No wonder there are so many fall festivals with the apple at its “core,” the largest one being the annual North Carolina Apple Festival, which celebrated its 76th year in 2022.

So apples to apples, where is the best place to take a bite of - or better yet - to pick - the ripe, juicy fruit yourself?

Evidence of old orchards is found throughout the area, on hikes, in backyards, and in community gardens - but there are other more accessible, and perhaps easier, ways to get your apple fix.

Local Markets in Asheville

Every day of the week you can find a local outdoor market in the Asheville area - from Tuesday’s West Asheville Tailgate Market on Haywood Road to the River Arts District Farmers Market at the Smoky Park Supper Club next to the French Broad River. These “tailgate markets” are the best bet if you don’t have much time but want the freshest in local produce, including apples. You’ll start seeing the red, gold, green and pink fruits appear towards the end of summer and remain the iconic fruit of fall through November. Keep your eyes peeled for frequent cooking demos as well.

Besides tailgate markets, Asheville is home to the WNC Farmers Market, a state-run market open seven days a week. You’ll not only find one of the largest selections of apples in the area, you’ll also discover apple pies, apple bread, apple butter, dried apples and even pickled apples. Pro tip: drive to the stalls towards the back of the market where you can buy direct from local farmers.

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Apple Orchards in the Asheville Area

Asheville is a central location to apple orchards, and apple picking in the Asheville area is one of the top things to do in the fall. Although there are no actual apple orchards in Asheville proper, there are many apple orchards in the Asheville area. And visiting these orchards is one of the top family-friendly things to do in Asheville.

Drive in any direction and you’ll run into a farm specializing in the fabled fruit.

North: Buffalo Trail Orchard

It’s only about fifty miles through beautiful countryside to the Tennessee border. Travel to Buffalo Trail Orchard in Greeneville, TN to pick your own apples at a fifth-generation farm that has varieties including William’s Pride and Goldrush.

South: Grandad’s Apples ‘N Such and Sky Top Orchard

Hendersonville is home to the big apple of apple festivals, The North Carolina Apple Festival, so it’s no surprise that it also has the most apple orchards in the area. Grandad’s Apples ‘N Such is a 100-acre family farm and apple orchard. You can choose from apple bins of freshly picked, or on certain weekends, pick your own. The onsite store sells a variety of apple gifts and baked goods like hot cider doughnuts, apple pies, cookies, hot cider and apple cider slushies.

In Flat Rock, you can visit Sky Top Orchard and enjoy panoramic views while eating a fudge or caramel apple. You can also shoot apples from their “apple cannon.” But the main attraction is the acres of apples, where you can choose from almost seventy varieties of apples throughout the season.

East: Orchard at Altapass

With 280 acres straddling the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Eastern Continental Divide in Spruce Pine, the Orchard at Altapass is a historic orchard that offers walking trails, a general store, a pollinator garden and of course, apples. Pick your own or choose from freshly picked, with heirloom varieties with names like Aunt Rachel and Sheep Nose. Enjoy a bite to eat at the orchard’s Apple Core Cafe - and on some afternoons enjoy live Appalachian folk and bluegrass.

West: Barbers Orchard Fruit Stand

Drive West from Asheville to Waynesville, where you can stop in at Barbers Orchard Fruit Stand for fried apple hand pies, apple fritters, apple muffins, apple loaves and their famous apple cake. These local baked goods have become so popular they ship them nationwide. Of course, you can get apples and other apple goodies at this orchard as well, whose history goes back over 120 years. 

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Cideries in and near Asheville

It’s common knowledge that Asheville is home to over thirty breweries - but during apple season, it’s time for the cideries to be in the spotlight.

The first cidery to open in Asheville was Noble Cider. Noble is in partnership with Lewis Creek Farms and is proud to blend the craft industry with the agricultural heritage of the area. Visit Noble’s location in Leicester or its outpost downtown to try brews such as an American Heirloom Cider or an Apple Pie Hard Cider.

Bold Rock Cider boasts locations in both downtown Asheville and Mills River, near Asheville Regional Airport. One of the largest cidery operations, Bold Rock uses apples from the Blue Ridge Mountains in both North Carolina and Virginia. Their popular products are found in grocery stores all over the East Coast, and the cider makers are now offering a hard seltzer made from an apple alcohol base.

Family-run Urban Orchard uses apples from Hendersonville to make cider flavors like Sweet English and Elderberry Hop. With taprooms on the South Slope in downtown and in West Asheville, Urban Orchard is a popular stop for locals and tourists to get their piece of the pie - or rather, sip of the cider.

No matter “how you like them apples,”  you’ll have your pick in the Asheville area.