Apple Hill Orchard is a Great Destination Each Harvest Season

MORGANTON, N.C. – With 22 acres of trees producing 15 varieties, Morganton’s Apple Hill Orchard is a top pick of apple aficionados.

The orchard, owned by the Prewitt family for more than a half century, has been a popular stop on the u-pick-em circuit in Western North Carolina since the late 1980s.

Each year from late August through Christmas Eve folks know to visit the bucolic Burke County orchard for freshly-grown apples, tasty ciders, and apple-flavored treats baked on site.

Owners Gayle and Harley Prewitt consider the business a labor of love, and are always excited to see customers’ faces light up when they find just the right variety of apple.

“We listen to what people are asking for and have added a few varieties over the years,” Gayle Prewitt says. “But with some of the varieties, we don’t ever seem to be able to grow enough.”

Fifteen types of apples grace the orchard’s trees each year. That list begins with Ginger Golds in late July and ends with Limbertwigs in late October.

In between, these 13 varieties are available: Gala, Arlet, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Red Rome, Cameo, Stayman Winesap, Fuji, Goldrush, Granny Smith and Pink Lady.

The apples range in price from 70 cents to $1.25 a pound, depending on the total weight.

In addition to picking apples, visitors can arrange educational tours during the week or enjoy wagon rides on Saturdays. The rides depart every 45 minutes from 10:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There’s also a store selling apples, cider, funnel cakes and baked goods.

No apples from Apple Hill go to wholesale packing houses. The majority are bought by visitors, while some are used for cider and the remaining apples go to farmers for animal feed.

“We have lots of families who have come over many, many years. They tell us they like to watch us grow,” Gayle Prewitt says. “We’re always building and growing. We do the ‘no-debt plan,’ so it’s a little bit every year that we’ve added on. It’s really nice to be able to provide multi-generational activities for families.”

Almost all customers are from out of town, hailing from places like Charlotte, Gastonia, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro and Wilmington.

The orchard is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Daylight Savings Time ends. At that point the hours switch to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

For information, call (828) 437-1224 or visit: www.AppleHillOrchard.com.