In Georgia, apple picking is a favorite fall festivity. Apple trees are heavy with fruit, the weather’s finally pleasant, and the whole family can get out and enjoy the gifts of nature and reap the bounty of the land. Read on to find learn how the Peach State is just as famous for its apples, the significance of picking your own, and all the different ways you can use apples in your kitchen.

U-pick or pick-your-own farms are a childhood tradition beloved for generations. So many people cherish their memories of picking strawberries in the summer, exploring the pumpkin patch for the perfect pumpkin, and visiting the apple orchard with its enticing offerings of apples. These farms operate on a simple but special business model: let customers harvest the produce they want to purchase. This eliminates a lot of “middlemen,” such as distributors and grocery stores, and offers a more authentic, meaningful experience than a display in the produce section.

U-pick farms also help connect customers to their food by giving them a chance to understand the food system by participating in food production hands-on. In so doing, they learn to appreciate seasonality and see their food in context – in this case, apples growing on a tree that lives on sun, soil, and rain, outside in the crisp autumn air. Picking your own produce is family-friendly and in line with today’s farm to table, sustainability, and local sourcing trends.

Now that you know how fun and important picking apples can be, let’s talk about all the different culinary applications of this delicious, beautiful fruit. It can be enjoyed as part of any meal, day or night! Start with apple-pecan pancakes, and serve your lunch with skillet-fried apples for a sweet side dish.

At suppertime, make old-fashioned applesauce to accompany your pork chops, and for dessert, you have endless options, including apple pie, apple crisp, and apple donuts. Wash it all down with spiced hot apple cider, the warming elixir of autumn, and when the days grow colder, make sweet apple butter in the slow cooker and then can it for holiday gifts your loved ones will never forget.

Now you know that Georgia apple picking is both fun and farm-to-table. The harvest itself is a great activity for all ages to share, and the whole family can hone their culinary skills with hundreds of apple recipes for any meal. Look up your local apple orchard or visit a Georgia agricultural website to find out where you can join in the fun.

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