U-pick: The fall hike and the family farm

Published 10:00 pm Monday, October 5, 2015

Here is a DIY hike plan for ya: find those trails that could also lead you near and even through area u-Pick farms. The leaves change this month and the roads, parkways, trails, and weekend day trips are on everyone’s mind. After the past two weeks of rains, floods and humidity, getting outdoors in fresh outdoor fun and sunshine sounds yummy to me. It’s apple and pumpkin season. We grow them here!  Maybe skip the corporate box stores and get out and know your neighboring orchards and farmers and pick your own.

North River Farms, Mills River: They offer tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn and cucumbers for u-pick. Availability of produce will vary.

Queens Produce and Berry Farm, Pisgah Forest:  They have blackberries, raspberries, beans, blueberries, and flowers available for u-pick.

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Sky Top Orchard, Zirconia: They have a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, plus 25 varieties of u-pick/they-pick apples, grapes, peaches, Asian pears and pumpkins. They press their own apple cider. Bring a picnic, feed the farm animals and visit their playground. Picking containers included for an abundance of fruit, weather permitting. Pumpkins: late Sept.-Oct. 31. Grapes: Sept. 1-30. Peaches: Aug. 9-Sept. 5. Apples: Aug. 9-Nov. 15. Asian Pears: Aug. 20-Oct. 31.

Stepp Farms Hillcrest Orchard, Hendersonville: A beautiful 45-year, three-generation family owned farm. Pick your own with 22 varieties of apples, grapes, honey, molasses, cider, potatoes, and pumpkins. Gift shop and a great place for family gatherings.

Billy Laughter Orchards, Hendersonville: They’re a family farm specializing in pick your own apples. They have most varieties and unrestricted hours, Mon.- Sat. Apples: Aug.-Nov. 1.

Coston Farm & Apple House, Hendersonville: The orchard is located within walking distance of the Apple House. They open around Labor Day weekend in September and close when the apples have been picked or the weather gets too cold. Little red wagons are provided for transport of apples or kids. No ladders are needed or permitted to be used. Apples: Sept.-Oct.

Creasman Farms, Hendersonville: They have several different varieties of apples, from heirlooms to some of the newest apples available. All varieties are not available in the u-pick. Only open for u-pick on Sundays. Call for availability and hours. Apples: Sept.-Oct.

DeerHaven Hills Farm, Columbus: Muscadines are great for jelly, wine, or just eating. Call for prices, quantity discounts. By appointment only in Tryon (Green Creek). Certified Organic Muscadine Grapes: Sept.-Oct. Certified Organic Blueberries: Jul.-Aug.

Grandad’s Apples, Hendersonville: NC Apples and peaches in season. Peaches: July – Labor Day. Apples: Aug. – mid-Nov.

Justus Orchard, Hendersonville: Pumpkins: Sept. – early Nov. Blackberries: July-Sept. Apples: mid-Aug.-early Nov.