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Apple season underway in WNC, growers expecting strong turnout


Apple season is here in Western North Carolina. Some Henderson County orchards have already opened or are planning to open this weekend. Grandad’s Apples in Hendersonville saw one of its busiest seasons ever last year. Owners officially opened up Thursday morning. “It’s just a fun place to be and (to get) great apples,” said Mike Pierce, of Columbia, South Carolina. Pierce and his wife Carol said they’ve been to the orchard multiple times before. They stopped in Thursday after being in town for their wedding anniversary. Owners and staff at Grandad’s Apples have been looking forward to opening day for months. “Not a whole lot of sleep last night because we were very anxious, but everything is going smooth this morning and we’re all just trying to get back into that apple routine,” said Grandad’s Apples co-owner Leslie Lancaster. The season sparked some concern early on, after temperatures overnight dropped into the 20s twice. Despite that, Lancaster and others have plenty of apples to go around this season. “We specifically opened up a little bit later and we’ll be closing a little bit sooner so that we’ll be able to help all the customers that come out looking for fresh apples,” she said. “We’ll have plenty of apples available for sale, just some of the varieties we won’t have available.” Up the road, Justus Orchard will open Saturday and while the chilly start also affected some of its varieties, the frost didn’t have much of an impact on the overall supply. Owner Don Justus said there are 24 types of apples to choose from. “While part of them might not be available for pick your own this year, we’ll have plenty of others that will be available,” he said. Across the area, there is optimism for another strong season.Many growers are looking forward to the North Carolina Apple Festival in Hendersonville this year, a major draw each year. It typically attracts hundreds of thousands of people. Last year, the festival was canceled because of COVID-19. It is scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

Apple season is here in Western North Carolina. Some Henderson County orchards have already opened or are planning to open this weekend.

Grandad’s Apples in Hendersonville saw one of its busiest seasons ever last year. Owners officially opened up Thursday morning.

“It’s just a fun place to be and (to get) great apples,” said Mike Pierce, of Columbia, South Carolina.

Pierce and his wife Carol said they’ve been to the orchard multiple times before. They stopped in Thursday after being in town for their wedding anniversary.

Owners and staff at Grandad’s Apples have been looking forward to opening day for months.

“Not a whole lot of sleep last night because we were very anxious, but everything is going smooth this morning and we’re all just trying to get back into that apple routine,” said Grandad’s Apples co-owner Leslie Lancaster.

The season sparked some concern early on, after temperatures overnight dropped into the 20s twice.

Despite that, Lancaster and others have plenty of apples to go around this season.

“We specifically opened up a little bit later and we’ll be closing a little bit sooner so that we’ll be able to help all the customers that come out looking for fresh apples,” she said. “We’ll have plenty of apples available for sale, just some of the varieties we won’t have available.”

Up the road, Justus Orchard will open Saturday and while the chilly start also affected some of its varieties, the frost didn’t have much of an impact on the overall supply.

Owner Don Justus said there are 24 types of apples to choose from.

“While part of them might not be available for pick your own this year, we’ll have plenty of others that will be available,” he said.

Across the area, there is optimism for another strong season.

Many growers are looking forward to the North Carolina Apple Festival in Hendersonville this year, a major draw each year. It typically attracts hundreds of thousands of people.

Last year, the festival was canceled because of COVID-19.

It is scheduled for Labor Day weekend.



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