‘Tis the season for all things apples in the Shenandoah Valley! From late July/early August through early November, apples are harvested, which leads to wonderful byproducts like apple cider and apple cider donuts. Yum!
Pick-your-own opportunities ensure you know exactly where your fruit comes from. Add to that the pride of doing it yourself, and, well, perhaps an apple never tasted so good as the one you pluck on your own.
Winchester is called the Apple Capitol of the World, and for good reason. There are many orchards in the vicinity of Winchester, though all are not open to the public. Start here to embark upon your apple picking adventure …
- Marker-Miller Orchards is open Monday through Saturday
- Rinker Orchards is open Friday through Monday
Showalter’s Orchard & Greenhouse in Timberville has Gala and Ginger Gold ready for picking this month followed by Golden Delicious in September. Care to stay the night? The Cider House Orchard Stay puts you in the thick of it!
In Berryville, Mackintosh Fruit Farm is open for picking Thursday through Sunday.
“Ugly” apples – those bearing blemishes – are used to make Showalter’s Apple Cider at Showalter’s Orchard. Pick up a jug at their orchard market Thursday through Monday. For the “hard stuff,” head to Old Hill Cider Tasting Room also open Thursday through Monday.
Halcyon Days Cider Co. in Natural Bridge crafts their hard cider from their labyrinth of an apple orchard. Seriously. Wind your way through the 2,000 apple trees after you sample the ciders.
Life is Hard Cider encourages you to “drink cider, because life is hard,” and we tend to agree. Take a tasting journey at The Winery at Kindred Pointe in Mt. Jackson.
Winchester Ciderworks specializes in English style cider crafted from locally grown apples and aged at least one year before consumption. To get started, go for Malice, the original cider in proper English fashion. It was declared the Best Traditional Cider of 2020 by Savor Magazine.
Sage Bird Ciderworks in downtown Harrisonburg opened in 2020 and they’re already crafting excellent cider. Sourced from local orchards, the apples used for their ciders include Stayman, Golden Delicious, York, Albemarle Pippin, Virginia Hewes Crab, and others. Sample their ciders at the tasting room, open Wednesday through Sunday.
Apple Cider Donuts
Circle back to Marker-Miller Orchards to try their homemade apple cider donuts.
The Apple House in Linden is very well known for their Apple Butter Cinnamon Donuts. Folks travel from all over for them, in fact. The Apple House is open daily from 7 a.m.
Historic Wade’s Mill hosts their annual Apple Butter Festival every October. This year it’s October 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You won’t want to miss this crisp fall festival with copper kettle-simmered apple butter, artisans, apple cider donuts, wine, fresh bread, cider, campfire cobblers, and much more.
Other Places to Buy Shenandoah Valley Apples
Adam’s Apples and Herbs in Woodstock is a family owned and operated growing operation with a farm market Thursday through Saturday and Monday.
Ryan’s Fruit Market in Timberville offers the yield of the family farm, including fresh apples, apple butter, and apple cider. The market is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Jon Henry General Store in New Market pulls fresh fruit from area growers to make it more accessible to you. An easy stop just off Interstate 81 and U.S. Route 11, the Jon Henry is a treat to visit and offers all the nostalgia of an old general store.
The Turkey Knob Brand dates all the way back to 1918 and the original 300-acre orchard started by T.B. Byrd and Senator Harry Byrd. The orchard has grown and been revitalized with technological advances since then and now processes 2,000 acres of apples under the name Turkey Knob Growers. Visit the Timberville Fruit Market Wednesday through Saturday to pick up a box of Ginger Gold or Gala apples. Refer to their availability chart to know what’s pickin’.
Photo courtesy of Marker-Miller Orchard.