By Kelly Melang of Forsyth Family Magazine (with contributions from TMoM)

The symbol of the apple has had different meanings through the ages, from the poisoned apple given to Snow White to the Apple Logo gracing every iPod and iPhone. The symbol of fall is the apple tree, branches weighed down with big juicy apples. A great family fall memory is apple picking, going to a local orchard and filling your bucket with your favorite treat, then coming home and deciding what to do with them.

Did you know that North Carolina ranks 7th in apple growers in the United States, producing over eight million bushels of the fruit a season? It’s the perfect timing for not just picking apples but enjoying the fall colors as well. And we’ve compiled a list of pick-your-own apple farms that make for a fun family day trip. As always, we recommend you call before you go to ensure these farms still have apples ready for picking.

To start, one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast takes place TOMORROW! Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in North Wilkesboro is FREE, and close to 160,000 people visit this festival each year, leaving with bushels and bags of fresh- picked North Carolina apples.

Or if you prefer to go on your own schedule, consider one of these pick-your-own farms:

Ayers Orchard
72 McAyers Road
Cana, VA 24317
(276) 755.4126

Haight Orchards
2229 Pannel Road
Reidsville, NC 27320
(336) 427-6933

Hill’s Orchard & Vineyard
3452 Marvin Hill Place
Trinity, NC 27370
(336) 475-7042

J & A Orchard
2052 Old NC 90
Taylorsville, NC 28681
(828) 381-9271

Knob Creek Orchards, Inc.
6471 Fallston Road
Lawndale, NC 28090
(704) 538-1405

MillStone Creek Orchards
506 Parks Crossroads Church Road
Ramseur, NC 27316-8581
(336) 824-5263

The Orchard at Altapass
1025 Orchard Road, Milepost 328.3 on The Blue Ridge Parkway

Make a fall memory for your family and explore North Carolina/Virginia’s apple heritage while bringing home a healthy treat!For a full listing of apple orchards throughout North Carolina, click here.

Have you been apple picking? Where is your favorite place to go?