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The time to pick apples: Now

Apple crops are already being picked in the mountains.
Apple crops are already being picked in the mountains. John D. Simmons/Observer files

If you’re new to the Southeast, apple season can sneak up on you. If you wait for crisp October weather, you’re too late for most apple crops around here. This season’s apple crops should start showing up at local farmer’s markets soon, and if you want to pick your own apples, it’s time to start planning a trip.

In the N.C. mountains, apple picking is well underway. A check of the website for Skytop Orchard in Flat Rock, always popular with Charlotte apple fans, shows Ginger Golds and Early Macs have already passed. Of course, there are still another 19 varieties that are either picking now and will keep going through September.

Down in York County, S.C., Windy Hill Orchard will have a short supply thanks to heat and drought, but they’re picking now too. And the Cider Bar and hard-cider tastings are going on, 1-6 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays.

Want a shortcut way to find all the apple, grape and pumpkin fields that do pick your own? The Observer’s you-pick guide is updated every year. You can find it right here, or just go to www.charlotteobserver.com/food-drink and it’s at the top of the page. Always call the farm before you go. Crop conditions and availability change fast.

Kathleen Purvis: 704-358-5236, @kathleenpurvis

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