As summer slips into fall, the time is ripe for apples. Our sources in the field tell us it is a bumper crop this year, so we picked over the best of the bushel to find family-friendly farms where the apple of your eye can pick right from the tree.

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Mercer Orchards
Mercer Orchards offers u-pick apples every weekend in September through October. $10 will get you a peck-sized bag of u-pick apples and $2 will score a tractor tour of the farm. Don’t miss their bakery choc full of treats like Dutch apple pie, rum apple cake and “Grumpy Granny” crisp apple wine.

Address: 8660 Blue Ridge Dr., Blue Ridge
Phone: 706-632-3411
Website: www.mercier-orchards.com
Season: August through October
Hours: Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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B.J. Reece Apple House
Family-owned B.J. Reece Apple House harvests Braeburn, Mutsu Golden, Red Delicious, Red Rome Beauty apples from early September through the end of October. Kids will love the apple cannon, petting farm, cow train and wagon rides (offered on weekends only). To sweeten the deal even more—and entice them back in the car for the ride home—there is also an on-site bakery offering delicious, freshly-baked breads, donuts and fried pies.

Address: 9131 Highway 52 E, Ellijay
Phone: 706-276-3048
Website: reeceorchards.com
Season: September 1st through October 31st
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Hillcrest Orchards
On weekends through October, visit Hillcrest Orchards for its “Apple Pickin’ Jubilee.” Kids can pick their own apples from Hillcrest’s dwarf apple trees, milk a cow and enjoy the jumping pillow, giant slide, corn maze, “Hillbilly” mini golf, mule-drawn wagon rides through the orchard, pedal cars, a petting farm and even pig races. Adults will love the on-site Moonshine Museum and apple cider doughnuts.

Address: 9696 Highway 52 E, Ellijay
Phone: 706-273-3838
Website: www.hillcrestorchards.net
Season: September 6th through end of October
Hours: Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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R&A Orchards
Families can enjoy tractor-pulled farm tours and apple picking every weekend during the month of September at R&A. Don’t miss their Roadside Market hawking everything from dried apples, dressings, preserves, salsas to apple butters and other southern staples.

Address: 5505 Highway 52 E, Ellijay
Phone: 706-273-3821
Website: randaorchards.com
Season: Every weekend in September
Hours: Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Red Apple Barn
Red Apple Barn offer u-pick apples throughout September and a pumpkin patch in October. Apple picking ends in September or whenever all apples have been picked. Take a tractor ride on a tour of the farm and then gobble up goodies like caramel apples, apple donuts and fresh apple cider in the barn.

Address: 3379 Tailscreek Road, Ellijay
Phone: 706-635-5898
Website: www.redapplebarn.com
Season: September
Hours: Sat., 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., 1-4 p.m.

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Still looking for more fruitastic fun? Check out the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay the 2nd & 3rd weekends of October!

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How will you use your fresh-picked apples this season? Tell us below!

–Phebe Wahl

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Photos courtesy of Mercier Orchards, Reece Orchards, Red Apple Barn, Hillcrest Orchards, The Georgia Apple Festival and R & A Orchards via Facebook