Pumpkins, apples, and corn mazes are the hallmarks of fall. Local orchards are full of families picking apples and eating cider doughnuts. Kids dart through corn mazes, and in just a few weeks, crowds will descend on pumpkin patches to pick out the perfect jack-o-lantern.
Small family farms make these autumn adventures possible. Getting ready for fall is a year-round job for farmers, from planting pumpkins and corn in the spring to tending the apple trees all summer.
Many of these farms go back several generations and are now run by the grandkids and great-grandkids of the farmers who planted the original orchard. The Justus family in Hendersonville started their orchard in the late 1800s. In the 1970s, Glenda Justus opened the farm to u-pick customers and a bakery followed years later. Now families throughout Western North Carolina come to Justus Orchard to pick apples each fall.
Hickory Nut Gap in Fairview has also reenergized its multi-generational farm through agritourism. A corn maze, pumpkin patch, and a barn full of animals are just a few reasons people flock to the farm.
In Spruce Pine, Altapass Orchard hosts storytelling hayrides on the weekends. Storytellers ride along to highlight some surprising local history and tell the story of the orchard and its magnificent views.
Visiting farms in fall is a way to support farmers and learn about agriculture. It’s also a ton of fun to be outside and experience autumn up close. There are dozens of farms in the Southern Appalachians that welcome visitors this season. Find one near you or plan a day trip at www.appalachiangrown.org